New South Wales (NSW) is in for a soggy weekend as a large cloud band dumps more rain across the state, with more than a dozen rivers set to flood after days of heavy downpours and storms.
A trough and cold front will move across the state on Friday, bringing further widespread rain.
The Bureau of Meteorology warned communities in the Riverina, including Hay and Griffith, that severe thunderstorms were likely to produce heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding on Friday morning after more than 23mm fell in 30 minutes at Hay Airport.
The system will also bring widespread heavy rain to the eastern half of NSW, including the western slopes and ranges, central NSW and the south coast.
Saturday is set to be a high-risk day for Sydney, with warnings of renewed river flooding to the city’s west months after record peaks were observed.
The SES has warned people near Penrith to stay informed about predicted river rises in the Nepean, Hawkesbury and their tributaries.
“The dams are full, and our rivers are already swollen, so any extra rainfall—no matter how minor—is likely to exacerbate existing flooding,” Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said on Thursday.
Sydney’s Observatory Hill recorded 91mm in the 24 hours to Friday 9 a.m.—taking the city beyond its previous record annual rainfall total peak, set in 1950.
Over the last few days, parts of NSW have already been hit with double to triple the amount of rain they would usually see in a month, the bureau said.
Continuing heavy falls will heighten the flood risk for inland rivers, with 14 catchments already on alert.
Conditions will ease briefly on Saturday morning before a low-pressure system forms along the coast in the afternoon, bringing renewed rain in the evening.
The worst of the weather should ease off by Sunday, according to the bureau.
Renewed and prolonged flooding is continuing in inland NSW at the rivers Namoi, Macquarie, Bogan, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, Murray, Edward, Culgoa, Birrie, Bokhara, Warrego, Paroo, Barwon and Darling.
Outback towns being monitored closely include Gunnedah, Narrabri, Tamworth, Dubbo, Forbes and Bathurst.
Throughout the weekend, the bureau expects to issue further flood warnings on the Hunter River, for Wollombi Brook and at western Sydney’s Hawkesbury-Nepean rivers, in Menangle and parts of Penrith.
SES Commissioner Carlene York warned that renewed flooding could present different challenges, especially to inland communities.
“This particular event on saturated ground means that things can happen very quickly,” she said.
“Don’t assume you will get a warning … it may go straight to an evacuation order.”
Authorities have also warned tens of thousands of racing fans heading to the Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama to take care, with heavy falls predicted in the area.
“Please don’t race to the races,” Acting Deputy Police Commissioner Peter Cotter said.
Farmers are also concerned the latest deluge will destroy another crop, and graziers have been warned to shelter spring lambs and sheep.
Meanwhile, the bureau has warned livestock is at risk with temperatures set to plunge in the Illawarra, south coast, southern tablelands, southwest slopes, Snowy Mountains and ACT regions.