Heavy rains and flooding prompt evacuation of Sydney suburbs

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SYDNEY – Thousands of residents in the Sydney suburbs were urged to evacuate their homes on Sunday after heavy rains caused rising flood waters and overflowing rivers in what authorities described as life-threatening emergencies.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for heavy rain and flash flooding and winds up to 90 kilometers per hour along the coast of Australia’s most populous city and other parts of the state of New South Wales.

Authorities said the Warragamba Dam in western Sydney began to overflow overnight and the peak of the spill would be comparable to the devastating floods in March last year.

Residents in a number of suburbs have been ordered to evacuate, but Emergency Services Secretary Steph Cooke said people did not have to wait until they were told to leave.

“If you’re uncomfortable or unsure of your circumstances and there’s an opportunity to leave earlier, don’t necessarily wait for an evacuation order,” she said. “If you were safe in 2021, don’t assume you will be safe tonight. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we could see affected areas that we have not seen before.”

Emergency services said they had conducted over 100 flood rescues and responded to over 3,000 requests for help in the past 24 hours. Evacuation centers have opened in several areas of western Sydney.

About 100 Australian Armed Forces personnel helped by putting up sandbags and banging on doors to warn of the risk of flooding.

The Weather Bureau’s hazard preparedness and response manager, Jane Golding, said a coastal trough that has been ongoing since Friday has deepened, while an east coast low-pressure system has formed off the mid-north coast.

“That has resulted in some exceptional rainfall rates over the last 24 hours… up to 200mm has fallen in many places and nearly 300mm in some,” she said. Rainfall is almost half of Sydney’s annual average.

People have been told to avoid all non-essential travel, including on public transport, as some roads are already flooded and others are at risk of sudden flash floods.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/heavy-rains-floods-prompt-evacuations-of-sydney-suburbs/2022/07/03/deb3d8a2-fab8-11ec-b39d-71309168014b_story.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_world Heavy rains and flooding prompt evacuation of Sydney suburbs

Dustin Huang

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