NSW floods: Entire Sydney suburb forced to evacuate
Thousands of residents in low-lying suburbs of Greater Sydney have been evacuated overnight as floodwaters engulfed houses and cut off escape routes.
Residents in low-lying areas, such as hundreds of homes in Woronora, were issued immediate evacuation notices after rivers rose dangerously high and threatened to isolate communities.
Locals were told they may not have power, water, or essential services if they chose to stay past 7pm and it would be too dangerous to perform a rescue. The entire suburb of McGraths Hill in Hawkesbury was also evacuated overnight due to flood risk.
Another evacuation order was issued by the SES after 9am on Tuesday, telling Windsor residents and businesses on Mileham St, between Hawkesbury Valley Way, and Day St to leave by 11.30am.
As the state enters the third day of the downpour, the State Emergency Service (SES) has already responded to more than 5300 requests for assistance.
Five hundred of those requests for assistance were in a short period on Monday night, while SES crews also responded to less than 100 flood evacuations and rescue.
NSW SES spokesman Daniel Osbourne told 2GB’s Chris Smith that further rainfall predicted for Tuesday could increase flood levels.
While the amount of rain is expected to abate later in the day, Mr Osborne said the risk of flooding remained.
“There are a number of rivers that are starting to fall slowly, but please don’t become complacent. That doesn’t mean the risk is over,” he said.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said the intense deluge was expected to recede on Tuesday, but rainfall would continue throughout NSW for the rest of the week – particularly along the coastline.
NSW SES deputy commander Ashley Sullivan warned that some areas would have high floodwaters until the weekend.
“Today (Tuesday), the risk remains around Sydney with that severe weather impacting Sydney, the Central Coast, and our focus is shifting up into the Hunter Valley,” she said on ABC News Breakfast.
“At the moment, we’re seeing rivers rise particularly around the Central Coast, the Tuggerah Lakes, and that Hunter Valley river system. So the risk remains particularly from the severe weather, but these floodwaters will remain high right into the weekend.”
More than 45,000 people have been impacted during the state’s second flooding event this year that has centred around Sydney, the Hunter Valley, and Illawarra.
The NSW government has declared a natural disaster in 23 local government areas.
The Hawkesbury, Nepean, Georges and Colo rivers have all flooded and nearby residents have been evacuated. For many residents in southwest and northwest Sydney, it’s the fourth time in 18 months they’ve feared for their lives and homes.
Flood levels at Hawkesbury River in Windsor reached 13.9m early on Tuesday morning, making it the area’s biggest flood since 1978.
The BOM’s flood height predictions also forecasted that those levels could potentially rise even further later in the morning.
Labor MP for Macquarie Susan Templeman said residents in her northwest Sydney electorate were concerned about being isolated after the Windsor bridge, which connects both sides of the city, was inundated for the fourth time in 18 months.
“Areas are going to be cut off for days and with power now being cut, telecommunications is really fragile,” she told ABC’s News Breakfast.
“This is where it starts to get very messy.”
While the heaviest rainfall is expected to ease on Tuesday, she said the effects of the flooding would be felt by residents for months to come. Ms Templeman said locals were fatigued by the constant threat to their homes and lives.
“The people who bounced back from floods more than a year ago – we are not the same people,” she said.
“These people are tired, people have been through this. It is the same people who tend to be hit time and time again.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will visit flood-affected areas of NSW later this week, with Acting Prime Minister Richard Marles telling Nine “he will be on the ground here” following his trip to Ukraine.
As the rain continues throughout NSW, the SES is urging people to continue to monitor emergency warnings and alerts. Mr Osborne repeated the plea for residents not to drive, walk, or ride through floodwaters.
“We don’t want to have to go and pull people out of floodwater where it’s completely unnecessary,” he said.
In addition to flash flooding, residents should be wary of landslides, coastal erosion and fallen trees.
The SES is being assisted in their flood efforts by 200 Australian Defence Force troops and two ADF helicopters.
Originally published as NSW floods: Entire Sydney suburb forced to evacuate
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