Australia to evacuate thousands as Sydney faces worst floods in 60 years

With drenching rain expected to continue for the next few days


Reuters March 22, 2021
People walk on a street inundated with floodwaters in the suburb of Windsor as the state of New South Wales experiences widespread flooding and severe weather, in Sydney, Australia, March 22, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY:

Australian authorities are planning to evacuate thousands more people on Monday from flood-affected suburbs in Sydney’s west, which is set for its worst flooding in 60 years with drenching rain expected to continue for the next few days.

Unrelenting rains over the past three days swelled rivers in Australia’s most populous state of New South Wales (NSW), causing widespread damage and triggering calls for mass evacuations.

Read: Heavy rains in Australia's east bring worst floods in 50 years

“We need to brace ourselves, it will be a very difficult week,” NSW state Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

Torrential rain which has submerged large swathes of NSW is in stark contrast to the weather conditions in the same regions a year ago, when authorities were battling drought and catastrophic bushfires.

“I don’t know any time in a state history where we have had these extreme weather conditions in such quick succession in the middle of a pandemic,” Berejiklian said.

Workers assess a flooded bridge in the suburb of Windsor as the state of New South Wales experiences widespread flooding and severe weather, in Sydney, Australia, March 22, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Workers assess a flooded bridge in the suburb of Windsor as the state of New South Wales experiences widespread flooding and severe weather, in Sydney, Australia, March 22, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

Sydney on Sunday recorded the wettest day of the year with almost 111 mm (4.4 inches) of rain, while some regions in NSW’s north coast received nearly 900 mm of rain in the last six days, more than three times the March average, government data showed.

Authorities said around 18,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas of the state.

Large parts of the country’s east coast will get hit by more heavy rains from Monday due to the combination of a tropical low over northern Western Australia and a coastal trough off NSW, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) official Jane Golding said.

Also read: After fires, Australia gets ready for floods

“We expect this heavy rain to fall on areas that haven’t seen as much rain over the last few days, we expect the flood risk to develop in those areas as well,” Golding told reporters.

Some places in Sydney’s western regions have seen the worst flooding since 1961, authorities said, as they expect the wild weather to continue until Wednesday.

A severe flood warning has been issued for large parts of NSW as well as neighbouring Queensland.

A State Emergency Service worker is seen on a flooded street in the suburb of Windsor as the state of New South Wales experiences widespread flooding and severe weather, in Sydney, Australia, March 22, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

A State Emergency Service worker is seen on a flooded street in the suburb of Windsor as the state of New South Wales experiences widespread flooding and severe weather, in Sydney, Australia, March 22, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS

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