Sydney’s wet weather is expected to ease on Wednesday as heavy rain moves north – but the flood crisis engulfing parts of the city’s northwest and southwest is likely to persist for several days.
- Around 50,000 people are affected by evacuation orders and warnings
- The SES has received more than 5,300 requests for assistance since the start of the emergency
- Residents have been told to follow evacuation orders after people were rescued from a flooded area
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) predicts the heaviest falls will occur on the Hunter and Central Coast before the system tracks further north.
Evacuation orders have been issued for 400 residents of the Hunter Valley, including Bulga near Singleton.
Tomorrow’s heaviest rainfall is expected to concentrate on the state’s northern coast.
Earlier on Tuesday, the Federal Government declared NSW’s latest floods a natural disaster, activating emergency financial support in dozens of areas.
Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the payments were available to residents of 23 crisis-affected local government areas in Greater Sydney, Hawkesbury, Central Coast and Illawarra.
Mr Watt said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wanted to ‘make sure his government gives all possible support to the government and people of NSW’.
The minister warned that the state was “not yet out” despite the easing of conditions.
“In most areas the flood waters appear to have peaked, but that obviously depends on any future rain that may occur.”
The State Emergency Service (SES) carried out 22 flood rescues overnight, including two in areas under evacuation orders.
There have been 5,300 requests for assistance since the start of the emergency, with 252 of those flood rescues.
BOM’s Jane Golding said some places had received up to 800 millimeters of rain in four days.
“The landscape is quite saturated at the moment and will take some time to dry out,” Ms Golding said.
“(Tonight) the focus is on the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie to Cessnock, to the Newcastle area.
“Over 100mm for some spots to be expected today in northern portions of the Hunter.”
There are 103 evacuation orders and 55 warnings in place for residents of North West and South West Sydney, affecting around 50,000 people.
He said rising floodwaters and storm damage caused widespread power outages, affecting 19,000 homes and businesses in Greater Sydney.
Flood Recovery Minister Steph Cook said Hunter would be hit by further rains later on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Windsor resident Tyler Cassel used a dinghy to rescue his partner Zoe from their home this morning.
“We just have to stay strong. Yesterday [the water] rose very quickly…it was one of the scariest floods I’ve been involved in,” Mr Cassel said.
Mr Cassel, who moved into his house last year, said he had been told the floods would be “one in 25 years or one in 50 years”.
He said it was the third time his house had been flooded in 2022.
SES Assistant Commissioner Sean Kearns said the Hawkesbury River continued to rise and there was a new risk of flash flooding for the Central Coast and Hunter.
“With the rain on the way right now, we’re seeing it moving over the northwest part of Sydney and into the Central Coast and Hunter areas, so the biggest risk is flash flooding,” he said. .
“It is, by its very nature, unpredictable – so we ask people to be aware of their surroundings and, if they can avoid unnecessary travel, not to travel and not to cross flood waters. “
Closer to Sydney, he said water levels continued to rise in North Richmond, Windsor and Sackville, while levels began to fall in south-west Camden.
The Hawkesbury River continues to rise, peaking at 14 meters.
This is the fourth flood in the region in the past 18 months.
This is more than the March 2022 flood which reached 13.9m, according to the BOM.