Thousands of NSW residents face horror in the coming days, with a destructive weather system heading towards Sydney.
At least 300,000 NSW residents are currently affected by evacuation warnings as the deadly weather system affects Australia’s east coast towards Sydney.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said there are currently 26 evacuation orders in place across the state, affecting 40,000 people.
A further 300,000 residents are currently under evacuation warnings, with that number likely to rise as the wild weather moves along the NSW coast. Follow our live coverage of the situation here.
“We know that at the moment it is focused on the north. But very quickly, as we are currently seeing in metropolitan Sydney with intense and heavy rain, it will move south,” he said on Tuesday.
“So for everyone, especially on the east coast of our state, these issues can happen to you.”
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A severe weather warning is in place for much of the NSW east coast, including Sydney, as the weather system that has devastated northern parts of the state and Queensland heads south.
Warnings of damaging winds, heavy rain and life-threatening flash flooding are in place for Metropolitan, Illawarra, the South Coast, parts of the Hunter, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands forecast districts.
“A deepening low off the coast of northern New South Wales is expected to drift south parallel to the coast on Tuesday and deepen rapidly in response to an upper trough and deepening low” , said a warning from the Bureau of Meteorology.
At this point, the system is expected to hit the central and south-eastern districts of New South Wales on Tuesday evening, but exactly when or which areas will see the biggest impacts is still unclear.
Heavy rain could lead to flash flooding this evening and Wednesday morning, with six-hour rainfall totals between 80mm and 120mm likely to occur south of Gosford.
Intense precipitation greater than 200 mm, possible thunderstorms and locally destructive gusts of wind greater than 125 km/h are also possible.
A second severe weather warning for abnormally high tides and damaging waves is also in place for coastal areas south of Forster.
BOM senior meteorologist Dean Narramore said officials were not expecting widespread rain in northern New South Wales for the next few days, which is good news for flood-affected areas.
He said the low pressure system that brought this rain intensified after leaving the NSW coast and is starting to move south.
“This means we are going to see increased rain on the central coast of NSW which runs from the Hunter down to the south coast of NSW. This includes Newcastle, the metropolitan area, the Blue Mountains, down to the south coast,” he said.
“We are likely to see this type of precipitation again lead to flash and riverine flooding for many of our rivers, streams and watersheds.”
Emergency Services Minister Steph Cook said NSW had “never seen flooding like this” in the upstate.
“The scenes were really harrowing,” she said, adding that unfortunately “things aren’t going to get much better up there for a little while.”
Ms Cook warned it is likely that lives could be lost as severe weather continues to impact the state.
“While I would love to think and really hope we won’t see any fatalities as a result of this event, I think it’s unrealistic that a disaster of this magnitude will mean there are no lives lost. “, she said.
‘Too late to leave’: Major flood warnings for NSW
Major flood warnings are in place for parts of the NSW coast, with the BOM issuing warnings for the Rivers Tweed, Wilsons and Clarence.
The Central North Coast, Central Coast, Greater Sydney, Illawarra and the South Coast are also all under flood watch as wilder weather conditions loom.
Lismore and surrounding areas were hit hard by flash flooding on Monday, with 701mm of rain dumping on nearby Rosebank in just 24 hours.
The dramatic downpour is NSW’s highest daily total since 1954 and Australia’s highest rainfall total since 1998.
NSW SES responded to thousands of calls for help as residents were trapped in their homes by rising floodwaters.
An alert was issued to residents of South Ballina just after 7am this morning revealing it was ‘too late to leave’ the area and to ‘seek heights immediately’ due to rapidly rising waters of flood.
NSW SES is ordering residents of South Ballina to move to higher ground away from flood waters.
“Rising flood waters are beginning to make evacuation of the area dangerous. Burns Point Ferry is closed and Wardell Bridge is flooded,” said a warning from NSW Incident Alerts.
“You should immediately move to the highest safe place now, such as higher ground or inside a solid multi-story building to higher levels as high as possible above the level of the water Do not leave your site unless it is safe to do so.
The warning comes after an intense weather system wreaked havoc in northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland, causing widespread flooding and killing eight people.
Between 400mm and 800mm of rain has fallen over the past four days, leaving entire suburbs under water and the Brisbane River threatening 140 suburbs and flooding damaging more than 15,000 homes.
Sky News meteorologist Rob Sharpe said the ‘extraordinary’ rain would continue well into the weekend, with southern parts of NSW now in sight.
“The event is still ongoing in the east of the country,” he said.
“We saw exceptional rainfall for Queensland, with Brisbane seeing three days in a row with over 200mm.
“(Brisbane) has broken its three-day rainfall record and the records date back to 1840.
“Some of the heaviest rains were (Sunday) with totals over 400mm, which is why we saw life-threatening flash flooding in Brisbane CBD itself.”
He said heavy rain is expected along the south coast of Queensland and the north coast of New South Wales on Monday.
“Northern rivers, parts of the north-central coast (will see) heavy to intense rainfall and threats of damaging winds. The heaviest rain of the night is likely to drift out to sea… but it’s not over then.
Mr Sharpe said an upper trough from inland areas “will suck that moisture up from the sea towards the coastline”.
Heavy rain is expected on the central and southern coasts of New South Wales on Wednesday, with a low pressure system “swinging over the coast from Wednesday evening into Thursday with heavy rains that can reach intense levels”, Mr. Sharpe.
“Flash flooding and riverine flooding (are) likely to develop.”
What’s happening in other states?
Much of southeastern Australia will experience wet and stormy weather in the coming days as the chaotic week continues.
Victoriaeastern parts of southern australiasouth and west New South Walesthe ACT and parts of Tasmania will see rain throughout Monday in what Mr Sharpe described as ‘a bit of severe weather’.
“The same story could be told for tomorrow for parts of NSW and Victoria,” he said.
A noticeable easing of the rain will take place on Tuesday evening before things do resume.
Wet weather will intensify on Wednesday, particularly along the NSW coast where some major centers have already faced flooding.
Parts of Queensland battered by rain and flash flooding will experience wetter weather on Thursday and Friday, but it won’t be as bad as the weather event that preceded it.
A ‘severe tropical cyclone’ could wreak havoc in the west
There is bad news for Western Australia as former Tropical Cyclone Anika causes flooding in the Kimberley region.
Sky News Weather reports that the storm is “likely to move to review and strengthen to a tropical cyclone” threatening Broome, Port Hedland and parts of north central WA.
The WA Bureau of Meteorology said: “Former Tropical Cyclone Anika is likely to re-develop as it moves off the coast later on Monday or Tuesday and intensifies further. A severe tropical cyclone impact on the east coast of Pilbara or the west coast of Kimberley is expected on Wednesday or Thursday.
Mr Sharpe said “damage is likely” with former Tropical Cyclone Anika reforming as it brings rain and high winds to Western Australia.
Up to 25mm of rain could impact Darwin on Monday, but this is expected to dissipate. There will be rain throughout the week as temperatures will hover around 33C.
For now, the focus is on Queensland where seven people have died from flash flooding, including a 59-year-old man who had entry problems crossing Cabbage Tree Creek Road in Fitzgibbon on foot around 4:15 p.m. Sunday.
He was swept away by floodwaters before two members of the public raised the alarm.
Police and emergency services responded by performing CPR on the man, but he could not be revived and died at the scene.
The body of a 34-year-old man was discovered in Indooroopilly after his car was submerged in floodwaters at 2.30am on Sunday.