Regional authorities expect water levels to reach a peak higher than last March’s floods that killed 23 people. The rain, which could last for another two days, could trigger flooding and landslides along the east coast of New South Wales. In the lower parts of Sydney, the state capital, the water is already 1.5 meters high in some places.
Sydney’s main dam is overflowing due to heavy rains in recent days. According to the authorities, this is happening faster than during previous floods. “We now face risks on multiple fronts,” New South Wales Emergency Services Minister Steve Cook told a news conference. Sudden floods, rivers bursting along their banks, and coastal erosion. This is a life-threatening emergency.”
More than 200 mm of rain has already fallen in many areas, with a peak of 350 mm – more than a quarter of Sydney’s annual average. However, according to weather services, the peak of precipitation has not yet been reached. It won’t start to weaken until the rain front makes landfall on the eastern side of Australia overnight.
The pictures show how entire neighborhoods were submerged. Rescue workers use boats to cross the fast-flowing water to help people. “It was a long night last night, it was a very long day today and tonight is going to be another long night,” Cook said Sunday afternoon (local time).
According to Australian media, the weather conditions have already claimed the lives of at least one person. On Sunday afternoon (local time), emergency services found the body of a man in a river near Sydney. He was reportedly kayaking when he was ambushed by the water.
In the past 24 hours, emergency services carried out 83 rescue operations. A woman clung to a tree for an hour before rescuers could reach her. The Australian Government has deployed 100 military personnel to assist the people of New South Wales.
Minister Cook warns that some residents in threatened areas appear to be underestimating the situation. “Unfortunately, it turns out that people don’t necessarily respond to the advice we give several times a day,” she said. “Do not put your life, the lives of your loved ones, and the lives of our emergency services volunteers at risk.”
Last March, New South Wales, like Queensland, also suffered from flooding. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke of the worst flood in the country’s history at the time. Tens of thousands of people had to flee to safer places.
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