Thousands of NSW residents are facing a horror next few days, with a destructive weather system making its way to Sydney.
At least 300,000 NSW residents are currently being impacted by evacuation warnings, with the deadly weather system impacting Australia’s east coast heading towards Sydney.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said there are currently 26 evacuation orders in place across the state, impacting 40,000 people.
Another 300,000 residents are currently under evacuation warnings, with this number likely to rise as the wild weather moves down the coast of NSW.
“We know that at the moment this is focused on the north. But very quickly, as we’re seeing in metropolitan Sydney now with severe and heavy rainfall, it will move to the south,” he said on Tuesday.
“So, to all people, particularly across the east coast of our state these issues may come your way.”
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A severe weather warning is in place for much of NSW’s east coast, including Sydney, as the weather system that devastated northern parts of the state and Queensland makes its way south.
Warnings for damaging winds, heavy rainfall and life-threatening flash flooding are in place for Metropolitan, Illawarra, South Coast, parts of the Hunter, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands Forecast Districts.
“A deepening low off the coast of northern NSW is expected to drift southward parallel to the coast on Tuesday and rapidly deepen in response to an amplifying upper trough and low,” a warning from the Bureau of Meteorology said.
At this stage, the system is expected to hit the central and southeastern NSW districts on Tuesday night but the exact timing or areas that will see the most significant impacts is still unclear.
Heavy rainfall could lead to flash flooding tonight and into Wednesday morning, with six-hourly rainfall totals between 80 and 120mm likely to occur south of Gosford.
Intense rainfall in excess of 200mm, possible thunderstorms and locally destructive wind gusts in excess of 125km/h are also possible.
A second severe weather warning for abnormally high tides and damaging surf is also in place for coastal areas south of Forster.
Senior BOM Meteorologist, Dean Narramore, officials weren’t expecting widespread rain across northern NSW over the next few days, which is good news for flood impacted areas.
He said the low pressure system that has been driving that rain has deepened after moving off the coast of NSW and is beginning to move south.
“That means we’re going to see the rain increase across the Central Coast of NSW, that’s going from the Hunter all the way down to the south coast of NSW. That includes Newcastle, the Metropolitan area, the Blue Mountains, all the way down to the south coast,” he said.
“We’re likely to see this kind of rainfall potentially lead to again flash and riverine flooding for many of our rivers, creeks and catchments.”
Minister for Emergency Services, Steph Cook, said NSW has “never seen floods like this” in the northern parts of the state.
“The scenes have been truly distressing,” she said, adding that unfortunately “things are not going to get much better up there for a little while’.
Ms Cook warned that is likely lives could be lost as the severe weather continues to impact the state.
“Whilst I would love to think and I truly hope that we will not see any deaths from this event, I think that it is unrealistic that a disaster of this magnitude will mean that 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 Tweed, Wilsons and Clarence Rivers.
The mid north coast, Central Coast, Great Sydney, Illawarra and South Coast are also all on flood watch as more wild weather looms.
Lismore and surrounding areas were hit hard by flash flooding on Monday, with 701mm of rain dumped on nearby Rosebank in just 24 hours.
The dramatic downpour is the highest daily total in NSW since 1954 and the highest rainfall total in Australia since 1998.
NSW SES have responded to thousands of calls for help, as residents became trapped in their homes by rising flood waters.
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 immediately “seek high ground” due to rapidly rising flood waters.
NSW SES is directing people within South Ballina to move to higher ground away from floodwaters.
“Rising floodwater is beginning to make it unsafe to evacuate the area. Burns Point Ferry is closed and Wardell Bridge is inundated,” a warning from NSW Incident Alerts said.
“You should immediately move to the highest safe place now, such as higher ground or inside a sturdy multistorey building to upper levels as high above water levels as possible. Do not leave your location unless it is safe to do so.”
The warning comes after an intense weather system wreaked havoc on northern NSW and southeastern Queensland, causing widespread flooding and resulting in eight deaths.
Between 400 and 800mm of rain fell in the last four days, leaving entire suburbs under water and the Brisbane River threatening 140 suburbs and floods damaging more than 15,000 houses.
Sky News Meteorologist Rob Sharpe said the “extraordinary” rain will continue well into the weekend, with southern parts of NSW now in the firing line.
“The event is still ongoing in the east of the country,” he said.
“We’ve seen exceptional rainfall for Queensland with Brisbane seeing three days in a row with more than 200mm.
“(Brisbane) broke its three-day rainfall record and records go back to 1840.
“Some of the heaviest rain was (Sunday) with some totals above 400mm which is why we saw life-threatening flash flooding in Brisbane CBD itself.”
He said heavy rainfall is expected on Monday along the south coast of Queensland and the north coast of NSW.
“The Northern Rivers, parts of the mid-north coast (will see) heavy to intense rainfall and the threats of damaging winds. The heaviest rain overnight is likely to drift out of sea… but it’s not over then.”
Mr Sharpe said an approaching upper trough from inland areas “will draw in that moisture from out to sea back on to the coastline”.
Heavy rain is expected on Wednesday for the central and southern coastlines of NSW, with a low pressure system “swinging onto the coastline Wednesday night into Thursday with heavy rainfall possibly reaching intense levels”, Mr Sharpe said.
“Flash flooding and riverine flooding (are) likely to develop.”
What’s happening in the other states?
Much of the southeast of Australia will see wet and stormy weather in the days ahead as the chaotic week continues.
Victoriaeastern parts of South Australiasouthern and western NSWthe ACT and parts of Tasmania will see rain throughout Monday in what Mr Sharpe described as “a fair bit of severe weather”.
“The same story could be said for tomorrow for parts of NSW and Victoria,” he said.
A noticeable easing of rain will take place on Tuesday evening before things well and truly ramp up once again.
On Wednesday, the wet weather will intensify, particularly along the NSW coast where some major centers have already copped a drenching.
Parts of Queensland smashed by rain and flash floods will see more wet weather on Thursday and Friday but it will not be as severe as the weather event that preceded it.
‘Severe tropical cyclone’ could wreak havoc out west
There’s some bad news for Western Australia as ex-tropical cyclone Anika brings flooding to the Kimberley region.
Sky News Weather is reporting the storm is “likely to move out to see again and restrengthen to a tropical cyclone” threatening Broome, Port Hedland and parts of central north WA.
The Bureau of Meteorology in WA said: “Ex-Tropical Cyclone Anika is likely to redevelop as it moves off the coast either later Monday or Tuesday and intensify further. A severe tropical cyclone impact to the east Pilbara or west Kimberley coast is forecast on Wednesday or Thursday.”
Mr Sharpe said “damage is likely” with the reformation of ex-tropical cyclone Anika as it brings rain and strong winds to Western Australia.
Up to 25mm of rain could impact Darwin on Monday but it should clear up. There will be some rain throughout the week as temperatures hover around 33C.
For now, the focus is on Queensland where seven people have died as the result of flash flooding including a 59-year-old man who ran intro trouble crossing Cabbage Tree Creek Road in Fitzgibbon on foot about 4.15pm on Sunday.
He was swept away by floodwaters before two members of the public raised the alarm.
Police and emergency services responded conducting CPR on the man, however, he could not be revived and died at the scene.
The body of a 34-year-old man was discovered at Indooroopilly after his car became submerged in floodwaters at 2.30am on Sunday.