THERE is one common response that is shared by anyone directly impacted by the flood that ripped a path across the Hastings this week - no-one has seen anything quite like it.
From Settlement Point and the North Shore, to Telegraph Point and the upper reaches of the Hastings and south to the Camden Haven, locals and "old-timers" say the water rose quickly and with force and the flooding has been the worst they have seen in more than 50 years.
Kathy and Matt Moretti are among thousands who are counting the cost. The blue sky and sun was welcome relief on Wednesday but the stench from the thick mud, dead livestock and flood debris is a pungent reminder there's a lot of work to be done.
WATCH: Kathy Moretti shows where the water infiltrated her home.
Kathy and Matt have been living at Settlement Point for six years. Kathy's dad, 91-year-old Harry Branch, has lived in the Hastings for 70 years and says this event surpassed what he witnessed in 1962.
By 4am on Saturday, Kathy and her family were waist deep in water as the Hastings River broke its banks and inundated homes on both Port Macquarie and North Shore riverbanks.
At Telegraph Point, Rollands Plains, Wauchope and west inland, the rain kept coming. A row of homes on River Street in Kendall have been decimated, and at Telegraph Point the destruction is heart-breaking.
The heaviest rainfall recordings, well over 1000mm, were in the gauges at Kendall and Comboyne.
But, the Morettis know full well it could have been worse. Their home remains standing and the possessions they have lost can be replaced. Their hearts go out to families across the Hastings who have been left with nothing.
On Friday, March 19, Leo and Jenelle Markun were married. They had a house full of wedding guests and while they were aware a weather event was on the way, they did not predict with how much ferocity.
"I've been in Port Macquarie for 41 years and I've never seen anything like it," Mr Markun said. They were cleaning up the debris around their Settlement Point bed and breakfast on Wednesday.
"We've lost our cars - it all came very quickly."
Son Rhys, said by the time they had received evacuation text messages, the water had already engulfed Settlement Point Road.
John and Fiona Young moved into Port Macquarie after running a dairy farm outside of Wauchope.
Older friends who had experienced the 1968 flood said the speed at which the rivers were rising was terrifying.
"That's what surprised us, just how quickly the water came up - and the volume of water," John said.
"My brother has a property at Wauchope and he called and said when it came up it wasn't that bad. Three hours later and they had to get out."
Residents praised the efforts of volunteers who worked tirelessly throughout the day to assist in the clean up.
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