Heavy rains, floods prompt evacuations of Sydney suburbs
The Manly Ferry makes its way through heavy swells across Sydney Harbour, Australia, Sunday, July 3, 2022. A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and strong winds has been issued for Sydney, as parts of NSW have received more than their monthly average rainfall within hours this weekend. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) — Thousands of residents in Sydney suburbs were told to evacuate their homes on Sunday after heavy rains caused floodwaters to rise and rivers to overflow in what authorities called life-threatening emergencies.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for heavy rain and flash floods and winds of up to 90 kilometers (55 miles) per hour along the coast of Australia’s most populous city and other parts of New South Wales state.

Authorities said that Warragamba Dam in western Sydney began overflowing overnight and the peak spill would be comparable to devastating flooding in March last year.

Residents in a number of suburbs have been ordered to evacuate, but Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said people don’t need to wait to be told to leave.

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

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

About 100 Australian Defense Force personnel were helping by putting up sandbags and knocking on doors to warn of flood threats.

The weather bureau’s hazards preparation and response manager Jane Golding said a coastal trough lingering since Friday deepened while an east coast low-pressure system formed off the Mid North Coast.

“That’s produced some extraordinary rainfall rates over the last 24 hours ... many locations have seen up to 200 mm and some close to 300 mm,” she said. The volume of rainfall is almost half of Sydney’s annual average.

People were told to avoid any non-essential travel, including on public transport, with some roads already underwater and others at risk of sudden flash flooding.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login

HOUSE RULES

  1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper; email addresses will not be published.
  2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.
  3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.
  4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.
  5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.
  6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.
  7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy