3ft of rain triggers fourth round of Sydney flood misery

SYDNEY (AP) — More than 30,000 residents in and around Sydney were ordered to evacuate or prepare to leave their homes Monday as Australia’s largest city faces its fourth and possibly worst round of flooding in 18 months.

Torrential rains since Friday caused dams to burst and watercourses to overflow, triggering another flood emergency for the city of 5 million people.

“The most recent information we have is that there is a strong possibility that the flooding will be worse than any of the three other floods those areas have had in the last 18 months,” Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt told Australian. Broadcasting Corp.

The current flooding could affect areas that managed to stay dry during previous floods, Watt added.

New South Wales state Premier Dominic Perrottet said 32,000 people were affected by the evacuation orders and warnings. “You would probably expect to see that number increase over the course of the week,” Perrottet said.

Emergency services had carried out 116 flood rescues in recent days, 83 of them since 9 pm on Sunday, it said. Hundreds more requests for help were made on Monday.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology director Jane Golding said some areas between Newcastle, north of Sydney, and Wollongong, south of Sydney, had received more than a meter (39 inches) of rain in the past 24 hours. . Some have received more than 1.5 meters (59 inches).

Those totals are close to the average annual rainfall for coastal areas of New South Wales.

“The system that has been generating this weather is showing signs of easing tomorrow, but more rain is expected throughout today,” Golding said.

Rain was forecast for the New South Wales coast, including Sydney, throughout the week, it said. The Bureau of Meteorology says up to 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) of rain could fall in Sydney on Monday.

Flood danger was greatest along the Hawkesbury River in north-west Sydney and the Nepean River in western Sydney.

“The water flows very fast,” Golding said. “It’s dangerous in the rivers and we have more rain to fall, which means the risk of flash flooding is not over yet.”

State Emergency Services Commissioner Carlene York said strong winds had downed trees, damaged roofs and blocked roads. She advised against unnecessary travel.

Off the coast of New South Wales, a cargo ship with 21 crew members lost power after leaving the port of Wollongong on Monday morning. She was anchored close to shore and tugboats were preparing to take her out to safer open waters.

The ship has engineers on board capable of repairing the engine, port official John Finch told reporters. “Unfortunately, we’re in dire conditions right now,” he said, describing 26-foot (8-meter) waves and 34-mph (30-knot) winds.

Repeated flooding was hitting members of a riverside community southwest of Sydney, Mayor Theresa Fedeli of Camden Township on the Nepean River said.

“It’s just devastating. They just keep saying ‘devastating, not again,’” Fedeli said.

“I keep saying… ‘We have to be strong, we’ll get through this.’ But you know deep down it is affecting a lot of people a lot,” she added.

Perrottet said the government and communities needed to adapt to major flooding that was becoming more common in Australia’s most populous state.

“We’re seeing these flood events more frequently, there’s no question about that,” Perrottet said.

“To see what we are seeing in Sydney, there is no doubt that these events are becoming more common. And governments need to adjust and make sure that we respond to the changing environment that we find ourselves in,” she added.


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