Sydney: Evacuation warning for dangerous flash flooding

Sydney: Evacuation warning for dangerous flash flooding

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Published on : Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Sydney Flood: Evacuation warning for dangerous flash flooding

There are thousands of people in Sydney’s south-west have been ordered to leave their homes as rising waters spark chaos. An east coast low is causing significant rainfall over Greater Sydney and its surrounds, and authorities have warned it is expected to continue for an extended period.

The Australian Police pulled two bodies from floodwaters in Wentworthville, in the city’s western suburbs, this morning.

There was a wind gust of 94km/h at Kiama recorded at 2:18pm and one at 91km/h at Montague Island at 11:56am.

A mother and son were confirmed dead, and most of the cars became trapped on flooded roads, thousands ordered to evacuate and whole suburbs cut off on Tuesday as parts of Sydney were inundated in a biblical deluge.

The death toll in Australia from the floods rose to 21 as a massive stretch of the New South Wales coast endured dangerous winds and heavy rains, causing landslides and wild surf conditions as a second east coast low moved in.

Some 40,000 people were told to leave their homes in NSW, covering more than a dozen Sydney suburbs, including parts of the northern beaches.

The two bodies were discovered in western Sydney on Tuesday morning amid the rising flood waters – a 67-year-old mother and her 34-year-old son from Wentworthville – whose abandoned car was found earlier. It brought the death toll across the state to eight.

The worst of the flooding on Tuesday affected some northern suburbs and the northern beaches. Dramatic footage showed Roseville Bridge, which crosses Middle Harbour, swamped with water on Tuesday afternoon, trapping cars and causing major delays.

The residents in low-lying areas below Manly Dam were urged to evacuate immediately as the NSW premier, Dominic Perrottet, warned the dam had begun spilling, potentially affecting some 2,000 people and 800 homes.

The State Emergency Service later amended the order to an evacuation warning as water levels at the dam dropped slightly.

There were 59 evacuation orders in place from Kempsey in northern NSW down to the Illawarra, with a further 15 evacuation warnings affecting 20,000 residents. The Sydney Trains implored people to avoid nonessential travel as water pooled at platforms across the city, while the bureau warned driving conditions were dangerous in all suburbs amid slippery, flooded roads.

Sydney was pummeled with 95.4mm of rain during the 24 hours to 9am Tuesday, making it the wettest start to the year on record, and the deluge only intensified throughout the day. Figures from the Bureau of Meteorology showed central Sydney had experienced its seventh wettest summer ever, even before Tuesday’s downpour.

The authorities closed many of the main roads surrounding the Georges River in the south-west of the city, including Henry Lawson Drive and Milperra Road, with entire sections of streets completely underwater. There are many residents could only watch on as the water swallowed up their homes and cars. Thousands of residents in the south-west were ordered to evacuate on Monday night as heavy rain swelled rivers.

The rainfall in excess of 80mm was detected in a two-hour period in Marrickville, Kentlyn and Lucas Heights on Monday. In the 12 hours to 6.22pm, Mittagong was lashed with 197mm of rain. The six-hour rainfall totals between 70 and 120mm were predicted for the Hunter, Sydney, Illawarra, South Coast and parts of the Central Tablelands. Isolated totals in excess of 150mm were possible.

There were 25 flood warnings in place across NSW from the mid-north coast to the south coast, while all but two of the state’s major dams were at 100% capacity. The major flooding was possible at Kempsey from Tuesday afternoon, with a possible peak near the major flood level of 6.6m at the Macleay River.

The last time flood waters reached that level was in the 2013 floods, when the river reached 7.1m. Other rivers, including the Hawkesbury, were flooding at levels exceeding last week and surpassing 2021.

The NSW State Emergency Service fielded more than 2,500 calls for assistance and carried out more than 200 flood rescues. Nearly 900 people were in temporary accommodation on Tuesday. Perrottet said there needed to be “frank assessments” of the state’s disaster mitigation strategies once the severe weather event had subsided.

In Queensland, severe thunderstorms with damaging winds were expected to hit between Ayr and Gympie on Tuesday afternoon, and more storms were forecast for Brisbane and the south-east of the state on Wednesday. There are eight flood warnings remained active across the state as clean-up continued, with major flooding occurring at the Condamine and Balonne rivers and the lower Moonie River.

The state recorded its 13th flood death after the body of a 31-year-old man was discovered at the Condamine River in Warwick.

Between 200 and 400mm of rainfall were recorded over the catchment in the past week. Renewed river rises were occurring downstream of the Loudoun Bridge, expected to remain above 8m at Condamine in the coming days as upstream waters arrived. The Balonne River at Warkon was sitting at 10.03m and rising. Major flooding was also occurring downstream at Weribone.

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