Macca’s flood jetski rider defends ‘harmless fun’
A man who was filmed jetskiing across flood waters at a Central Coast McDonalds has defended his behaviour, calling it "harmless fun", as the NSW Police Minister demands an investigation.
Tuggerah local Josh Partridge told 9 Newson Saturday that he didn't push the limits by taking his jet ski through the McDonalds drive through and "didn't hurt anyone".
"I was probably going to push it going through the drive through, so I thought I better not," Mr Partridge said.
"So it was harmless fun, we didn't hurt anyone."
The footage, which was uploaded to Reddit on Friday night, showed Mr Partridge riding through the flooded town, with the caption reading: "When it's flash flooding outside but ya desperate for some Maccas".
Viewers labelled Mr Partridge a "w*nker" and a "d*ckhead", and the New South Wales Minister for Police and Emergency Services, David Elliot, said he has asked police to investigate the footage.
"With this sort of boofhead behaviour, we're not going to tolerate it as far as the police are concerned," he said.
"We have emergency services deployed during a difficult job under difficult circumstances, and for them to have to divert their resources because people want to hand it out at a time when families are at home worrying about their wellbeing, and certainly the families of the emergency services workers are worried about their wellbeing, it's just not good enough."
Mr Partridge said he hoped he wouldn't be in trouble with the authorities based on the technicality that he "wasn't actually on the road".
NSW SEES HEAVIEST RAIN IN FOUR YEARS
The stunt came as emergency services issued a desperate plea to residents to be careful during the heavy rainfall, the state's heaviest in four years.
"Potentially we haven't seen anything like this since the late 1990s," Bureau of Meteorology acting NSW state manager Jane Golding said on Saturday.
NSW was absolutely soaked overnight, with some parts of the state's north recording more than 300mm of rainfall within 48 hours. Conditions are expected to get even worse on Sunday, with a combination of rain, wind, huge seas, high tides and the potential for "life-threatening" floods.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday Afternoon, Ms Golding said NSW was facing a "very dangerous system".
"We've been given a bit of breathing space but it's just starting to increase now, this is the most intense development of the system."
"We are seeing the signs that an east coast low will develop," Ms Golding said, which would bring gale force winds to some parts of the coast.
A King tide is expected on Monday morning which will increase the risk of flooding.
The NSW State Emergency Services will be assisted by police.
More than 2,600 calls for help across the state have been made to the SES since midnight on Wednesday, with six flood rescues alone performed in the Grafton area overnight.
One family was rescued by the Rural Fire Service via helicopter after flood waters cut them off, leaving them isolated in the car.
The SES on Saturday night urged residents across this region, as well as Sydney and the South Coast to prepare for heavy rain and potential flooding as a coastal trough causing rain and windy conditions continues moving south into the night and throughout Sunday.
"There's always an alternative route - never drive through floodwaters," NSW SES spokesman Terri Langenemdam said.
"People think that it looks OK on the surface but there can be debris underneath, roads can be washed away.
"There's also a reminder to keep kids away from creeks, drains and causeways."
A severe weather warning is in place on Sunday morning for heavy rain, damaging winds, abnormally high tides and damaging surf for the entire NSW coast from the Northern Rivers region to the South Coast.
The BOM said in a statement there is "potential for periods of very heavy (torrential) rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding" in the Hunter Region, including the Central Coast, as well as the greater Sydney, Illawarra and eastern parts of the Central Tablelands districts, including the Blue Mountains.
"Now is the time to plan how you will protect your family and property from flood," NSW SES commissioner Carlene York said in a statement, urging those in low-lying areas to plan ahead.
"Please keep clear of drains, creeks and causeways and if you are in a flood-prone area avoid parking vehicles in low-lying areas."
Cudgera Creek, in NSW's north east, recorded 320mm of rain in the period between 9am on Saturday and 4am on Sunday.
In the same period Tweed Heads recorded 235mm, Comboyne Public School recorded 189mm, Wentworth Falls recorded 155mm, and Ballina recorded 140mm.
While the deluge is bringing some much-needed drought relief - and aiding in putting out the fires still burning in NSW - there is also a risk of falling trees and landslides, and large volumes of run off containing debris including ash, soil, trees and rocks.
"The rain is good for business and farms as well being really good for quenching some of these fires we've been dealing with for many, many months," NSW Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told the ABC on Friday.
"We don't want to see lots of widespread damage and disruption from flooding, but it is certainly a welcome change from the relentless campaign of hot, dry weather."
As of 8pm tonight, the Currowan Fire burning in the Shoalhaven has been set to out. The fire burned for 74 days, burnt out 499,621 hectares and spans from each end of the Shoalhaven. 312 homes were destroyed and 173 damaged. 1,889 homes saved by firefighters. #NSWRFS #nswfires pic.twitter.com/0IDLGK2p62— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) February 8, 2020
As of 8pm on Saturday night, the Currowan fire that burned in the Shoalhaven region for 74 days had been set to out, the RFS announced.
The fire spanned from each end of Shoalhaven, in NSW's eastern coastal region, burning out 499,621 hectares and destroyed 312 homes.
- With AAP