Heavy rain has flooded Australia’s largest city – Sydney – causing what the authorities call “life-threatening emergencies” with urgent warnings of evacuations being issued for those living in the suburbs. More rain is expected over the next 12 hours, officials warned as they issued fresh evacuation orders for thousands of residents on Monday as relentless rain caused flooding in the suburbs.
Several regions of New South Wales – where Sydney is located – received about a month’s rain over the weekend, according to a Reuters report, which highlighted that an intense low-pressure system off Australia’s east coast is expected to bring more heavy rain through Monday across the southern regions of the state.
The weather department said that about 100 millimetres (4 inches) of rain could fall in the next 24 hours over various regions in New South Wales, from Newcastle to the south of Sydney, a distance of more than 300 kms (186 miles). “We are expecting the rain to pick up again from this afternoon,” Jonathan How, Bureau of Meteorology, said.
With river catchments already near their full capacity, fears of floods and landslides have been triggered. Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s major water supply, began to overflow well ahead of projections on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Residents in a number of suburbs have been ordered to evacuate before they are stranded without power, with as many as 70 evacuation orders in place in Sydney.
In the face of evacuation, frustration swelled in North Richmond and Windsor in Sydney’s west after floods submerged homes there for the third time this year. “We are over it. We are so over it. (This) is a bit much for of us,” a flood-hit Windsor resident told ABC television.
Over 100 flood rescues have been conducted and 3,000 requests for assistance responded to, emergency services were quoted as telling AP. Evacuation centers have opened in several areas in western Sydney.
Federal emergency management minister Murray Watt has offered more troops and said on Monday the government has activated the satellite emergency management system to help with the flood relief efforts.