Thousands more evacuate as Sydney faces flood | Weather news
Rivers erupted after days of torrential rains, with forecasters warning more rain would arrive in the Australian city.
Australian authorities were preparing to evacuate thousands more from flood-affected suburbs on the western outskirts of Sydney, the country’s largest city, on Monday with another day of heavy rain causing the worst flooding in 60 years.
Rivers in the state of New South Wales (NSW) erupted amid three days of relentless rain. The Warragamba Dam – the source of much of Sydney’s drinking water – overflowed on Saturday, prompting evacuations, school closings and warnings of worse to come.
“The flooding will likely be higher than any flooding since November 1961,” NSW emergency services said in a tweet Sunday night. Authorities expect the savage weather to continue until Wednesday.
The rapidly moving floodwaters inundated homes, washed away vehicles and farm animals, and submerged roads, bridges, homes and farms, television footage and social media.
The areas most affected so far have been in the north of the state, where Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the region was experiencing a “100-year event”.
The flooding comes just a year after unprecedented bushfires linked to climate change, which followed a prolonged drought that also saw Sydney introduce water restrictions.
Nearly 2,000 people have already been evacuated from low lying areas, NSW emergency services have said. More than 200 schools have been closed. No casualties have been reported to date.
More heavy rains are expected over large parts of New South Wales and as far as Brisbane, forecasters say due to the combination of a tropical low over northern Western Australia and a coastal trough off New South Wales.
“These two sources of moisture merge and will create a multi-state band of rain and storm starting on Monday,” the Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement.
A severe flood warning has been issued for large parts of NSW as well as neighboring Queensland to the north.
“These are very, very serious and very violent storms and floods, and it’s also a very complex weather system … so it’s a very trying time,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told the radio station on Monday. 2GB.
Sydney recorded its wettest day of the year on Sunday with nearly 111 millimeters of rain.
Parts of the state’s north coast have received nearly 900 mm (35.4 inches) of rain in the past six days, more than three times the March average, according to government data.
Australia is due to start the first major public phase of vaccine distribution on Monday, although the program has slipped behind the schedule announced by the government due to supply and delivery issues.
Health officials have said rain and flooding will delay the already halted rollout of coronavirus vaccines in and around Sydney.