Over 50,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes across NSW as the state braces for another day of devastation with a new threat to smash Sydney.
More than 50,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes across NSW and a further 18,000 are on alert as the state braces for another day of devastation.
Overnight, land slippages threatened homes, hundreds of cars became trapped on flooded roads and evacuation orders were issued as floodwaters continued to rise across Sydney’s northern and western suburbs, the Hunter Valley and Kempsey.
Flood levels in parts of the NSW capital are expected to reach new highs not seen since March 1978, with more than 65 evacuation orders now in place.
Evacuation centers were established to help those with nowhere else to go, including at Mona Vale and Freshwater Surf Club on the Northern Beaches, and Penrith RSL in Sydney’s west.
After intense rainfall led to flash flooding across Sydney’s northern beaches yesterday, the Bureau now warns damaging winds could lash a 600km stretch of the NSW coastline.
A severe weather warning was updated on Wednesday morning, with winds of up to 90km/hr expected from the Mid North Coast down to the South Coast.
Molineux Point recorded a 111km/hr guest late last night, while Sydney Airport also saw an intense 94km/hr wind gust at 9.20pm.
“The State Emergency Service advises that people should move vehicles under cover or away from trees, secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony and keep at least eight meters away from failed power lines or objects that may be energized, such as fences,” the Bureau warned in a statement.
SES spokeswoman Andrea Cantle said she was concerned that the strong winds that developed overnight could further complicate Sydney’s weather event, with trees potentially falling due to overly saturated soil.
Ms Cantle urged the community to be “as careful as possible”, adding that the SES are “asking people to avoid the road”.
“With properties, put away any loose items, bring your pets indoors because it’s going to get quite windy, the rain may die down and the wind will pick up,” she said.
A separate severe weather warning for hazardous surf has been issued across the Hunter Coast, Sydney Coast, Illawarra Coast, Batemans Coast and Eden Coast.
The “adverse weather conditions” have again forced the closure of a large number of schools across the NSW.
Further north, the SES directed residents along the Hunter River within Glenridding Dunolly and Combo to evacuate “high danger areas”.
The rising Hawkesbury also threatened homes at McGraths Hill and Mulgrave, with the SES saying, “once floodwater reaches 13.5 meters at Windsor, the area will be isolated”.
While reprieve from the rain is forecast for Thursday, Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Dean Narramore warned that more rainfall in already soaked catchments is likely – and dangerous.
“Even though the sun does come out, we are likely to see many of these rivers continuing to experience major flooding,” Mr Narramore said.
“And for some, the flood peak won’t occur until Wednesday or Thursday.”
The Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers remain of most concern, with Mr Narramore saying both were in danger of experiencing flooding levels “equal to or greater than what we saw in March of 2021”.
Warning of ‘extreme’ public transport delays
Transport for NSW has again advised people to avoid the rail network, after yesterday’s conditions wrought havoc on the system with flooding, landslips and fallen trees on tracks.
“Severe weather conditions are currently affecting the network with significant disruptions and larger than normal service gaps,” the department said in a statement.
“Please avoid any non-essential travel, and if you have to travel please plan ahead and leave plenty of extra travel time.”
Speaking to 2GB radio on Wednesday morning, NSW Transport Minister David Elliott urged all commuters to “rethink” whether they needed to travel and warned of “extreme” delays.
“There will be further delays today. We’ve got forecasts of 100km/h of winds expected,” Mr Elliott said.
“A lot of the system is going to be affected today. My message to listeners is given these delays you might get more productivity working from home.”