An intense low pressure system off Australia’s east coast is expected to cause more heavy rain through Monday across southern regions of New South Wales even as several places in the state experienced nearly a month of rain over the weekend.
About 100 mm (4 inches) of rain could fall in the next 24 hours over a wide swath of areas in New South Wales, from Newcastle to southern Sydney, more than 300 kilometers (186 miles) away, the Met Office said.
“If you’re safe in 2021, don’t assume you’ll be safe tonight. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we can see affected areas that haven’t had floods before,” said Steve Cook, NSW Minister of Emergency Services. Sunday evening televised briefing.
Earlier in the day, she urged people to reconsider holiday travel, with severe weather at the start of the school holidays.
“This is a life-threatening emergency,” Cook said.
More than 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rain fell on several areas together with up to 350 millimeters of rain, the Bureau of Meteorology said, warning of flood risks along the Nepean and Hoeksbury rivers.
Camden in southwest Sydney has been underwater, and the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast that water levels in areas north of Richmond and Windsor northwest of Sydney will reach higher levels than in the past three major flood events since March 2021.
Heavy rains caused the main dam in Sydney to spill early Sunday morning, water authorities said, adding that modeling showed the spill would be similar to a major spill in March 2021 at Warragamba Dam.
“There is nowhere for the water to stay in the dams. It’s starting to spill. The rivers are flowing very fast and very dangerous. Hence we are in danger of flash floods, depending on where it rains,” State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlin York said.
Some 70 eviction orders have been implemented in Sydney as authorities urged people to leave their homes before they were stranded without power.
As tens of thousands face evacuation, frustration swelled in north Richmond and Windsor in western Sydney after floods inundated homes there for the third time this year.
“We’re done. We’re way over it. (This) is too much for us,” a flood-ravaged Windsor resident told ABC television.
At least 29 people were rescued from the floodwaters, including one who was stuck on a pole for an hour while workers struggled to reach them.
The body of a man who fell from a kayak was recovered from Sydney Harbour, police said, adding that the circumstances are under investigation but appear to be wind related.
Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt offered more troops and said on Monday the government had activated a satellite emergency management system to help with flood relief efforts.
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