Stranded campers and a dog have been airlifted from Wombeyan Caves after being stuck in wet conditions for five days.
The nine people went camping near Goodmans Foord on the Wollondilly River last Friday. SES southeast zone operations officer Grant McClory said flood waters had washed away the group's cooking equipment and some of their possessions.
"They were sharing each other's rations and surviving," he said.
"Members of the Mittagong SES tried to get to them by foot on Sunday but it was too difficult. They went across creeks that were running very hard."
Similarly, attempts to airlift the campers out by helicopter on Monday and Tuesday were abandoned due to conditions.
But with improved weather on Wednesday morning, a Defence Force helicopter from Nowra successfully airlifted the nine people and a dog out of the area.
"They were in reasonably good spirits," Mr McClory said.
The Wombeyan area received a large amount of rain over the five days, as did nearby Taralga, where up to 180mm fell.
Mr McClory said the zone had undertaken 26 rescues since Saturday morning, and while there were some exceptions, generally the message not to drive through flood waters was getting through to people.
Elsewhere, the SES was kept busy across Tuesday as more rain set in around Goulburn.
The Mulwaree Ponds flooded in low lying areas and washing a shipping container down the waterway which eventually lodged in trees near Sterne Street. Nearby, the May Street bridge remained submerged on Wednesday morning.
Goulburn SES controller Daryl Skinner said crews on Tuesday night spent two hours turning back motorists who wanted to travel over the Lansdowne Bridge. Council personnel had been kept on the hop all day and had run out of road closure signs.
"They did an outstanding job all day," Mr Skinner said of the council crews.
SES Argyle cluster commander Robert Bell said three or four crews were out late into Tuesday night checking rivers, keeping people safe and assisting with road closures. The level came close to Emma Street homes.
He told The Post that heavy flow down the Wollondilly meant that the Ponds backed up. Both waterways were subsiding on Wednesday.
Volunteers were called to Marsden Weir after locals became concerned a man was endangering himself as he tried to rescue two dogs in the Wollondilly River. However the matter had resolved itself by the time they arrived and both man and dogs were safe.
Earlier in the day, locals assisted a woman at Tallong after she drove through the flooded Barbers Creek rail underpass on Highland Way. Mr Bell said the fact that people continued to drive through flood waters remained the Service's "biggest frustration."
On Wednesday, a rescue crew remained on standby and other personnel were out checking river levels and preparing for any fallen trees in the sodden ground. The Towrang Bridge was submerged and at Murrays Flat, the water rose to six metres, Mr Bell said.
At 11am, the Wollondilly at Marsden Weir was sitting at 2.6 metres and falling. The Mulwaree Ponds at Lansdowne Bridge were at 0.8m and also falling.
The deluge sent motorists touring the usual flood areas. At the Goulburn Wetlands, volunteers gathered to survey the watery expanse and contemplate another clean-up.
But Bill Wilkes said the deluge was welcome replenishment.
"Last year the water was going down and we thought we might have to ask the council for treated wastewater. This is good," he said.
Council waits to count cost
Goulburn Mulwaree Council general manager Warwick Bennett said it would be some days before the full extent of road and infrastructure damage was known.
However he expected that State natural disaster funding would again be forthcoming.
"This is as bad, if not worse than the the August, 2020 flood which caused $7.3 million worth of damage. I'd expect a similar amount this time," Mr Bennett said.
"Both Sooley and Pejar Dams have peaked and are overflowing. We're hoping they'll be back to 100 per cent by tomorrow but they've had a dramatic effect on the Wollondilly River and Mulwaree Ponds. They're not receding as much as we'd hoped."
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As of about 2pm, 29 roads remained closed.
Operations director Matt O'Rourke said the saving grace was that longer-term repairs had been undertaken to roads damaged in last year's floods thanks to "generous assessment" by Transport for NSW. Some of them had survived the August deluge relatively intact.
"In the last two big events, 50 plus sites have suffered damage so it will be interesting to see how they've fared when the water recedes," he said.
The previous two floods caused about $15 million worth of damage, all of which was covered by the state government.