SYDNEY: Sydney must brace for heavy rains and possible flash flooding over the next two days, authorities said on Tuesday (Mar 1), as an intense weather system battering Australia’s east coast slowly shifts south toward New South Wales, its most populous state.
Sydney, home to more than 5 million people, and several neighbouring regions could receive up to 150mm (6 inches) of rains within a six-hour period on Tuesday afternoon, the Bureau of Meteorology said. Sydney’s mean rainfall for March is 138mm, according to official data.
Nine people have been killed in Australia since the deluge began late last week, with floods submerging towns, roads and bridges in Queensland and New South Wales.
New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet described the wild weather as a “one-in-a-one thousand year event” and warned residents in the state’s south to get ready to leave their homes immediately if they are asked.
“At the moment (the weather system) is focused on the north, but very quickly, as we are seeing in metropolitan Sydney now … it will move to the south,” Perrottet said during a media briefing on Tuesday.
Hundreds of people are still stuck at their homes in the northern New South Wales city of Lismore, facing its worst floods on record, amid reports of some spending the night on their rooftops. Mayor Steve Krieg told Channel Seven that nine people were still missing with 400 rescues yet to be carried out.
Australia’s east coast summer has been dominated by the La Nina climate pattern, which is typically associated with greater rainfall, for a second straight year. Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, received around 80 per cent of its annual rainfall over the last three days, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Tuesday.