Emergency authorities in Australia are warning of “life-threatening” flash floods as torrential rains batter parts of the country’s East Coast.
Dozens of individuals are rescued from floodwaters, and residents in many low-lying communities of the latest South Wales are ordered to go away from their homes.
Police say many people have flocked to evacuation centers in areas north of the town of Sydney.
Major roads have been shut. Footage has emerged of a house being caught in a floodwater.
WaterNSW tweeted, ”Heavy rain is continuing across Sydney with Warragamba Dam nearing capacity and continuing to rise. We are expecting that Warragamba will start to spill sometime in the early afternoon today.”
Paul Meek tweeted, ”There may be a metre of rain in this system. NSW won’t have a dry day until Wednesday. Warragamba Dam will spill over later this afternoon, leading to flooding around Penrith and Richmond. 16mths ago the dam area was ablaze. Port Macquarie underwater now.”
Dams around Sydney are expected to overflow over the weekend, WaterNSW warns.
Up to 100mm (four inches) of rain is forecast for Sydney, and the maximum amount is 300mm for the lower Blue Mountains, west of the town.
Agata Imielska from the Bureau of Meteorology warned of localized intense rainfall and damaging winds, saying the general public should remember “dangerous conditions” which will change quite quickly.
“If you don’t need to travel if you don’t need to head out today, this is the day to stay at home,” Ms. Imielska was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald.
More storms are forecast within the coming days, and parts of eastern Australia could receive up to a meter of rain within the space of just every week, the BBC’s Phil Mercer in Sydney reports.