An intense low pressure system off Australia’s east coast is forecast to bring more heavy rain to southern parts of New South Wales until Monday, while many parts of the state have been hit by a month’s worth of rain over the weekend.
About 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain is expected over the next 24 hours over a wide area from Newcastle in New South Wales to 300 km (186 miles) south of Sydney. Meteorology said.
“If you were safe in 2021, don’t think you’re going to be safe tonight. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we could very well see areas with unprecedented flooding,” New South Wales Emergency Services Minister Steph Cook said. At a televised press conference on Sunday evening.
Earlier in the day, he urged people to reconsider holiday travel as severe weather hit at the start of the school holidays.
“This is a life-threatening emergency,” Cook said.
More than 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rain fell in many areas, with up to 350mm in some areas, the Met Office said, and flood warnings were issued for the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers.
Camden in south-west Sydney was under water, and the Bureau of Meteorology predicted water levels in North Richmond and Windsor, north-west of Sydney, would rise more than the last three major flooding events from March 2021.
Heavy rain caused Sydney’s main dam to overflow early on Sunday, with a modeling spill that could be comparable to a major spill at Warragamba Dam in March 2021, water officials said.
“The dams have no place to hold the water. They start to leak. The rivers are flowing too fast and too dangerous. And then there’s the risk of flash flooding depending on where the rain falls,” said State Emergency Services Commissioner Carlene York.
About 70 evacuation orders are in place in Sydney as authorities urge people to leave their homes before they are left without power.
With tens of thousands facing evacuation, there was frustration in North Richmond and Windsor, in Sydney’s west, as floods inundated homes there for the third time this year.
“We’re over it. We’re over it. (It’s) a little too much for us,” a flooded Windsor resident told ABC television.
At least 29 people have been rescued from the floodwaters, including one who hung from a pole for an hour as workers struggled to reach them.
The body of a man who fell from a kayak has been pulled from Sydney Harbour, the circumstances are under investigation but police said it appeared to be related to wind conditions.
Union Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt has provided more troops and said on Monday the government had activated a satellite emergency management system to help with flood relief efforts.