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Sydney weather: Evacuation orders hit as Nepean, Hawkesbury rivers peak


Despite rains forecasted to ease on Friday, a meteorologist has warned that rising river levels means the flood risk could continue for days.

Another round of evacuation orders were issued by the NSW SES overnight, with more than 2,000 residents across Greater Sydney forced to flee their homes as heavy rainfalls caused rivers to rise and flood low-lying areas.

The areas along the Georges Rivers, Wonorona Rivers, Nepean and Hawkesbury River have been particularly hard hit, with the Bureau of Meteorology announcing several final flood warnings overnight.

Although the heavy falls of Thursday will ease throughout Friday – although forecasts of up to 50mm of rain are predicted – the flooding is expected to continue.

Heavy rain to last for days

Although the heavy rainfall is likely to ease over the next few days, showers will be likely.

This comes as over 200mm of rain has been recorded in the past seven days, with falls stretching over the Central Coast of NSW and into the Illawarra, said Sky News meteorologist Alison Osborne.

In a Friday morning update, Ms Osborne said that Friday will likely bring up to falls exceeding 25mm along the NSW coastline, with heavier rains and thunderstorms forecasted for inland areas.

Forecasted for Friday and Saturday, this could intensify risks of flash flooding across the outback of NSW.

According to WeatherZone, the coastal town of Wollongong could continue to be lashed by persistent heavy rain across Friday and Saturday.

“As we told you yesterday, this weather pattern is near stationary and is being enhanced by a slow-moving upper-level pool of cold air sitting about five to six kilometres above the ground,” they reported on Thursday.

“This is day two of what will likely be three-to-four days of persistent heavy rain with the chance of thunderstorms.”

Flood risks to continue for ‘a few days’

Speaking to the ABC, Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior forecaster Peter Otto said that the tense situation will continue over the next few days.

“It’s very good news that the rain is easing,” he said.

“However, there remains a lot of water on the ground and in the rivers.

“And unfortunately for some people, the river levels will continue to rise as recent rainfall has caused them to and it will continue to be a risk for a few days yet.”

A major flood warning remains in place for the Hawkesbury and Nepean Valley, with minor flooding predicted in the Central Coast and Moruya Rivers.

In Camden, the Nepean River at Menangle Bridge peaked at 16.83m after rising 12m in 12 hours on Thursday. In Camden Weir, water levels also peaked at 12.2m at 10pm on Thursday night, both of which were above the March 2022 flood levels.

Footage from the township show large areas of the town completely submerged. Floodwaters were at their peak around the Camden township.

In the Hawkesbury, water levels reached the North Richmond Bridge, with floodwaters just under those recorded in February 2020. The Hawkesbury River at North Richmond is expected to reach 11.80m at noon Friday, which will likely cause major flooding.

Other areas in the Sutherland Shire like Bonnet Bay and Woronora were some of the first areas to receive evacuation orders on Thursday morning.

One resident, Sarah McCulloh shared photos of flood water completely overtaking her garden and kayak platform.

“Lost!!!- a set of perfectly good steps, the kayak platform and a terrace of my garden. Just a quiet day on the river?” Ms McCulloh wrote on Facebook.

“Thankful I’m 15 meters higher- the levels are record breaking. Some shots from home and up river.”

The rising floods in other areas of Woronora also showed properties and businesses being threatened.

The dramatic imagery comes as the BOM reports that the river height is likely to remain below minor flood level, despite wreaking havoc in low-lying areas.

Originally published as Sydney weather: Evacuation orders hit as Nepean, Hawkesbury rivers peak



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