Heavy rainfall is again lashing the Australian east coast with flash flooding occurring in multiple areas due to already saturated catchments, with authorities warning that the potential for landslides is becoming a major concern.
A severe weather warning has been issued for the state of New South Wales (NSW) from Gosford on the Central Coast to as far as Bega on the South Coast and extending inland to the Great Dividing range.
Rainfall totals of 60 to 100 millimetres–nearly 4 inches–every six hours have been forecast, potentially reaching up to 140 millimetres (5.5 inches) at the coast.
This comes just a week after the second of two major flood events affecting NSW in the past 5 weeks. The first of those events, which occurred in early March, saw the worst flooding in the state’s recorded history.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) meteorologist Sarah Scully reported that cloud pushing in from the west associated with an upper trough is driving this severe weather, which is expected to impact the region through Thursday and Friday.
In the past 24 hours, NSW State Emergency Services (SES) have received around 585 storm and flood-related calls for assistance, with minor to major flooding occurring.
SES reported on Thursday morning that the Menangle Bridge and Glenfield causeway in southwestern Sydney have been closed due to flooding, and motorists are being directed to use an alternate route.
Major flood warnings are also in place for the Georges River at Liverpool Bridge, Milperra Bridge, and Picnic Point, with major flooding possible in the suburbs of Liverpool and Milperra from Thursday afternoon and further southwest in Menangle on the Upper Nepean River from Thursday evening.
Further east, SES are advising residents and businesses in low lying areas of Woronora and Bonnet Bay in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire to prepare for evacuation due to the potential for floodwaters to isolate the area.
Meanwhile, in nearby Kurnell, roads have been closed at Greenhills as a result of oil and diesel on roads mixing with floodwaters, following the failure of the Ampol Refinery pump on Thursday morning. Motorists have therefore been advised to avoid driving through the area.
SES Manly unit have also reported multiple road closures on Sydney’s Northern Beaches due to flash flooding, particularly around the suburb of Dee Why, and advice to motorists is to stay home.
“It’s too dangerous out there and there’s more rain to come today,” SES said.