Australia – Evacuations in New South Wales After Days of Heavy Rain

Torrential rain has been falling in parts of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, since 07 February, 2020, causing rivers to rise and flash flooding. Strong winds have also caused damage and thousands of homes have been without power.

NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) said they received 1,393 calls for help between 07 and 08 February, including 15 flood rescues. One person is thought to be missing after a vehicle was swept away by flood waters.

Evacuation orders were issued for towns along the Hawkesbury River on 09 February. Some have since been able to return to their homes, although authorities warned that minor flooding was continuing along the Hawkesbury river at North Richmond and Windsor. Evacuation orders were also issued for Moorebank, Chipping Norton and Milperra along the Georges River on 11 February.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), said Sydney received 391.6 mm of rain between 07 and 10 February, which is more than three times the average rainfall for February and the city’s wettest period since 1990.

Other areas of the state have also seen torrential rain. In a 24 hour period 09 to 10 February, several locations along the central and southern coast recorded more than 350mm of rain, according to BoM.

The heavy rain has been accompanied by strong winds and rough seas. Several people have been injured by wind damage including falling trees. Waves more than 5 metres high have lashed the coast, causing beach erosion. Government agencies have warned that high tides forecast for the coming days – known as king tides – could further worsen the flooding.

On the positive side, the rainfall has put out several bushfires in the state and helped replenished dams after a period of drought.

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