‘A month of rain in one night’ triggers evacuations in Sydney, Australia

Australia Floods: Three intense weather systems in six weeks have hit eastern Australia.


Torrential rains battered Australia’s east coast on Thursday, with Sydney receiving nearly a month of rain overnight, submerging the city’s roads in flash floods and triggering evacuations as authorities warn of more rain during the day.

A man swept away by floodwaters in the northwest of the city was rescued by emergency teams, media reported, while footage on social media showed vehicles struggling to cross streets laden with water water, fallen trees and debris floating in the rivers.

Residents of a nursing home were evacuated overnight as emergency crews urged Sydney’s 5 million people to avoid unnecessary travel and prepare for possible evacuation orders.

An overflow from a fuel pit at a site owned by oil refiner Ampol in Sydney’s south caused oil to mix with floodwaters, but emergency crews said the spill had been contained and that there was no risk of danger in the area.

Sydney has received 1,226.8mm of rain so far this year, more than its average annual rainfall of 1,213mm. The Bondi tourist hotspot recorded around 170mm (6.7in) in the 24-hour period up to 09:00 on Thursday (2300 GMT, Wednesday), the meteorological office said. Over the next 24 hours, Sydney could receive up to 180mm of rain, the office said.

Australia’s east coast summer was dominated by the La Nina weather phenomenon, usually associated with increased rainfall, for the second consecutive year, with most rivers at capacity even before the latest flood. The Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main water supply, is expected to overflow on Friday, authorities said.

Three intense weather systems in six weeks have hit eastern Australia, with parts of northern New South Wales and south-eastern Queensland recording record rains and Sydney recording its wettest March ever checked in.

Climate change is also believed to be contributing to the weather, which has raised questions about Australia’s preparedness.

Several towns in northern New South Wales are still struggling to clear tons of debris after two separate devastating floods in March, but the latest weather event shattered the state’s central and southern coast.