/ 22 March 2021

Got a spare row boat?

Your mate in NSW/southeast Queensland might need it… It’s still bucketing down in Sydney and along parts of NSW’s coast as some areas experience the worst flooding in decades. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian described deluge on the state’s Mid North Coast as a once-in-100-years event and Western Sydney’s drenching as once-in-50-years with natural disaster declarations made across the affected areas. Across the state, more than 7,680 calls for assistance have been made since Thursday to emergency services, and 700 flood rescue from dangerous waters have been made. And today, Queensland’s Gold Coast is set to cop it…

• Worst affected are towns along the Mid North Coast, including Port Macquarie and Taree. The region has received between 370mm-450mm of rain since late last week causing rivers to break their banks. PM Scott Morrison said it was “absolutely heart-breaking” – including for one couple (who were due to be married on Saturday…) who watched their house get washed away. Flooding eased yesterday, but evacuation warnings for residents in low-lying homes remain in place.

• In the Western Sydney area, 1,000 people were evacuated late yesterday, and up to 4,000 people were warned they may need to leave with the Nepean River at Penrith nearing levels seen during the historic 1961 flood. The Hawkesbury River is also expected to reach a 16-metre high affecting the city’s Western suburbs all the way to Wisemans Ferry.

• Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main water source, spilt over for the first time since 2016, sending more water flooding into the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment on Saturday afternoon. Greater Sydney and the Blue Mountains received in the vicinity of 100-150mm of rain between Friday night and Sunday morning – what it would usually get for the whole of March.

Yup. Premier Berejiklian has warned the “deep-seated, extreme weather event” could last until the end of this week for some parts of the state. The state’s coast north of Sydney and a chunk of northwestern NSW are in for more heavy rain in the coming days when two powerful weather systems collide tonight. And over the border, the Gold Coast is bracing for severe thunderstorms today. That means some dangerous days to come millions of people, some delays to the COVID vaccination program with supply routes cut off, and a long cleanup to follow…

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