Australia – Storms and Floods in South East Leave 3 Dead

Storms that began on 04 June resulted in strong winds, high surf and heavy rain across south east Australia. Some areas have seen over 400mm of rain over the last few days.

Severe flooding has forced people to evacuate their homes in New South Wales, where over 280 flood rescues have been carried out by emergency services. The flood threat has since moved south to Tasmania where major flood warnings are in place in for an unprecedented seven rivers.

Two victims have been found dead in New South Wales, and one other victim has been found in Canberra. Around three people are thought to be missing, including 2 in Tasmania.

Police and emergency services in New South Wales have expressed their frustration that people continue to ignore constant warnings about the dangers of entering flooded areas.

Rainfall amounts in Australia for 7 days to 06 June 2016. Image: BoM
Rainfall amounts in Australia for 7 days to 06 June 2016. Image: BoM

New South Wales

At least 2 people have been killed as a result of the severe weather in New South Wales.

The body of a 65-year-old man was found in a vehicle in Mittagong Creek at Bowral in the New South Wales southern highlands on Monday, 06 June.

Another victim died when his vehicle was swept away by flood water in Leppington, a suburb in Sydney’s south-west, late on Sunday, 05 June.

Emergency rescue teams are trying to locate a person who went missing after they were swept off the rock by high waves at Sydney’s Bondi Beach.

NSW Police and the State Emergency Service say they are at a loss as to what more can be said and done to get the message across about the dangers of entering flood waters.

Acting Assistant Commissioner, Kyle Stewart, said despite the constant warnings about the dangers of entering flood areas we now have two men who have died.

“It is a tragedy these two lives have been lost. We simply do not know how either of these two men came to be in the flood waters. But what we know is that their deaths show just how dangerous flood waters are,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Stewart said.

“What do we have to say to get the message across? Emergency service personnel this morning have had the devastating task of retrieving the bodies of the men.”

“Flood waters are deadly – we can’t put it any other way.”

Evacuations and Rescues

Flood evacuation orders were issued for communities in Woronora, Chipping Norton, Lansvale, Milperra and Elderslie. Evacuations were also carried out in around 17 other locations in the state, in particular the Lismore area after the Wilson River overflowed.

New South Wales State Emergency Service (NSW SES) say that they recived over 9,000 calls for help during the severe weather, and carried out over 280 flood rescues. NSW SES say that the worst affected areas

Coastal Erosion

Although the heaviest of the rain is thought to have passed New South Wales, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said earlier today that “abnormally high tides are likely to enhance the risk of flooding, beach erosion, and coastal inundation in areas south of Port Macquarie.”

BoM added that “very heavy surf may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion, particularly on southern parts of the coast. Beach conditions in these areas will be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas. Locations which may be affected include Newcastle, Gosford, Batemans Bay, Eden, Moruya Heads, Sydney, Wollongong, Port Macquarie, Taree, Old Bar, Forster and Seal Rocks.”

Coastal erosion has already caused major damage in Collaroy, northern Sydney, leaving homes precariously close to the cliff’s edge.

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory State Emergency Service (ACT SES) said that police responded to an incident at the Cotter Dam, which is about 17km west of central Canberra. A vehicle was discovered, caught in the flooding water near the river crossing on Sunday 05 June.

A joint rescue effort was conducted involving AFP SRG Maritime (Water Police), ACT State Emergency Service, ACT Ambulance Service and ACT Fire & Rescue.

Due to the severe weather conditions, fast-rising and moving water, the 37-year-old Kambah man was unable to be rescued.

Tasmania

Currently there are major flood warnings in place in Tasmania for seven rivers: Forth River, Macquarie River, Meander River, Mersey River, North Esk River, River Derwent, South Esk River. So many river flood warnings has been described as “unprecedented” by Tasmanian Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Simon McCulloch.

“I have been around for the best part of 30 years, and we’ve had some major flooding on occasion, but generally only in one or two rivers at a time,” he told ABC News in Australia.

Evacuations

Tasmania SES said earlier today:

“Exceptionally heavy rain has fallen across Northern Tasmania over the past 36 hours. This has led to major flooding on the Mersey, Forth, North Esk Rivers. Major flooding is expected to develop today in the South Esk and Meander Rivers.

“Residences and several businesses have been affected by floodwaters in Wynyard, Forth and Latrobe. Latrobe is currently experiencing severe flooding and we are evacuating individuals from properties as required.”

Four evacuation centres have been set up for those disaplced: Wynyard, East Devonport, Albert Street (Launceston) and Deloraine.

Tasmania SES say they have had 270 requests for assistance today, and that more than 100 properties have been inundated by the floods.

Two people are missing in the floods. Police are searching for an elderly man who went missing in flood waters in Ouse in the upper Derwent Valley. Another person is missing in Latrobe, north west Tasmania after a house was flooded. One man, managed to escape but a second person, believed to be his wife, is still missing.

Rainfall

Rainfall amounts in millimetres for 24 hours to 09:00 Monday, 06 June 2016.

New South Wales

Parramatta -117
Macquarie Park – 126
St Ives – 127
Camden AP AWS – 140
Nowra AWS – 148
Turramurra – 165
Castle Cove – 148
Batemans Bay – 117

Typical rainfall for the whole of June in Sydney is around 130mm. May 2016 was Sydney’s fifth driest May on record with just 7.2mm of rain recorded at Observatory Hill, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Tasmania

Rainfall in millimetres for 24 hours to 09:00 Monday, 06 June 2016.

Interlaken – 143
Lake Augusta East – 144
Frankford – 143
Mt Barrow – 150
Mt Victoria – 193
Nunamara – 151
Westbury – 128
Wynyard – 128
Gray – 175
Pyengana – 211

Australia rainfall amounts for 05 to 06 June. Image: BoM
Australia rainfall amounts for 05 to 06 June. Image: BoM

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Flood Summary

Last updated: July 13, 2016
Event
South East Australia, June 2016
Date
June 4 to June 8, 2016
Type
Coastal flood, Inland flood, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
Storms that began on 04 June resulted in strong winds, high surf and heavy rain across south east Australia. 4 people died in floods in Tasmania. Two victims died in New South Wales, and one other victim in Canberra, ACT. The storms caused some coastal erosion and flooding in NSW.

Locations

A - Invermay
B - Latrobe
C - Ouse

Magnitude

Rainfall level
165 mm in 24 hours
Turramurra, New South Wales
Rainfall level
193 mm in 24 hours
Mount Victoria, Tasmania

Damages

Fatalities
4 people
Tasmania
Fatalities
2 people
New South Wales
Fatalities
1 person
Australian Capital Territory