Torrential rain is pummeling Australia’s east coast with one man dead and tens of thousands evacuated amid warnings the wild weather is going to get even worse.
More than 32,000 residents across New South Wales have been told to evacuate their homes as the state is smashed with a heavy deluge triggering widespread floods.
The severe rainfall threatening to destroy countless homes and businesses intensified on Sunday night with dozens needing to be rescued from rapidly rising waters along the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers on the north and western outskirts of Sydney.
In the middle of the night locals in parts of Penrith and Yarramundi were ordered to leave for higher ground.
‘If you remain in the area you may be trapped without power, water and other essential services and it may be too dangerous to rescue you,’ the alert read.
The NSW State Emergency Service said 83 people – including a mother and her newborn – had already been whisked to safety in the last 24 hours.
But one man tragically drowned after his kayak capsized in raging torrent at Abbotsford on Sydney’s Parramatta River despite a brave member of the public trying to save him.
Torrential rain will continue to pummel Australia’s east coast with one man dead and tens of thousands forced to evacuate (pictured, the Camden Sports Club inundated with rain)
More than 32,000 residents across NSW have been told to leave their homes as the state is smashed with a heavy deluge (pictured, a car abandoned in Chipping Norton)
Transport for NSW has urged commuters to avoid non-essential travel on Monday or plan ahead as wet and wild conditions impact the network (pictured, Sydneysiders brave the cold)
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said the weather system delivering this downpour would be ‘at it’s worst’ on Sunday night (pictured, residents in flood-ravaged Camden)
Emergency services rushed to the scene in Sydney’s Inner West just after 2.45pm on Sunday where they found the man struggling to stay afloat.
The man sadly succumbed to the rising water with police to conduct inquiries to identify the kayaker and prepare a report for the Coroner.
It comes as millions of residents have been told to stay home and put their travel plans on hold as ‘life-threatening’ storms escalate across the east coast.
Transport for NSW has advised commuters to avoid non-essential travel on Monday as wet and wild conditions impact the network.
The state will be hit with relentless rain and heavy winds again on Monday with at least 100mm forecast to fall across Sydney and 150mm in Penrith.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said the weather system delivering the most recent downpour would be ‘at it’s worst’ on Sunday night.
‘That system comes, it crosses the coast before midnight, it looks like, from the guidance, and then it will start to weaken,’ she said.
An SES spokesperson said while the rain was due to ease on Tuesday conditions were likely to worsen before they got better.
A burst of heavy rainfall is expected to keep rescuers busy as thousands attempt to evacuate their homes during the ‘rapidly-evolving’ flooding event.
A man has drowned after his kayak capsized in floodwaters as Australia’s east coast is smashed with severe rainfall (pictured, a local walks past an inundated by floodwaters in Camden)
Millions of residents have been told to stay home and put their travel plans on hold as ‘life-threatening’ storms batter NSW (pictured, an abandoned car trapped in floodwaters at Lansvale in western Sydney on Sunday)
There are 43 evacuation orders in place across Sydney’s south, west and north estimated to affect at least 32,000 residents.
However, more than 500,000 people have been urged to evacuate flood-prone areas before they become trapped by rapidly rising floodwater.
Camden, Woronora, Chipping Norton, Georges Hill, Lansvale, Moorebank, and Warwick Farm residents were told to leave immediately.
‘If you remain in the area you may be trapped without power, water and other essential services and it may be too dangerous to rescue you,’ the SES warned.
Evacuation orders were later issued for parts of North Richmond East, Ebenezer, Sackville North, and Leets Vale on the southern side of the Hawkesbury River.
East Hills, Picnic Point, Penrith, Emu Plains, Mulgoa, Jamisontown, North Richmond, Pitt Town, Cornwallis and Cattai were also sent evacuation warnings.
More than three times the average July rainfall has so far fallen in some parts of NSW this weekend, with the SES receiving more than 1,800 calls for help.
Two defence force helicopters are on standby to help with rescue efforts if residents become trapped with no way to escape.
A mother and her six-week-old baby were taken to higher ground amid fears she could become trapped in Wilberforce on the bank of the Hawkesbury River.
A group of children were also due to be rescued from a recreation camp in the Wollondilly Shire, south of Sydney.
MAJOR RIVER LEVELS ACROSS NSW AS OF SUNDAY NIGHT:
MENANGLE: Nepean River at Menangle Bridge peaked at 16.61m at about 7:50am on Sunday and is currently at 14.98m and falling, with major flooding.
CAMDEN: Nepean River at Camden Weir peaked at 12.72m at about 2pm on Sunday and is currently at 12.68m and falling, with moderate flooding.
WALLACIA: The Nepean River at Wallacia Weir may reach around 13m on Sunday evening, with major flooding.
PENRITH: The Nepean River at Penrith is currently at 9.21m and peaking, with moderate flooding.
NORTH RICHMOND: Hawkesbury River at North Richmond (WPS) may reach around 15m Sunday evening, with major flooding.
WINDSOR: Hawkesbury River at Windsor (WPS) may reach around 13.3m during Monday with major flooding.
SACKVILLE: Hawkesbury River at Sackville reach the major flood level (9.70m) Monday night into Tuesday.
LOWER PORTLAND: Hawkesbury River at Lower Portland may exceed the minor flood level (4.6m) overnight Sunday into Monday. The river level may reach 7.3m on Monday morning with moderate flooding.
WISEMANS FERRY: Hawkesbury River at Wisemans Ferry may reach around 4.2m during Tuesday with major flooding.
PUTTY ROAD: Colo River at Putty Road may exceed the minor flood level (2.7m) on Sunday evening. The river level may reach the moderate flood level (5.7m) on Sunday night.
Source: NSW Incident Alerts
Sea foam is seen being blown around the car park near North Cronulla Beach on Sunday
The sea form was blown onto the pavement by strong gusts of wind felt along Sydney’s coast
The ferris wheel at Camden Showground (pictured) is partially underwater as rain continues
Emergency Services and Resilience and Flood Recovery Minister Steph Cooke told residents not to assume they are safe from floods (pictured, floodwaters in Camden)
Emergency Services and Resilience and Flood Recovery Minister Steph Cooke told residents to check weather warnings before they went to bed on Sunday night and keep in contact with neighbours.
‘If your community has flooded in the past, please don’t necessarily wait for an evacuation order,’ she said.
‘If you were safe in 2021, do not assume you will be safe tonight. This is a rapidly evolving situation, and we could very well see areas impacted that have never experienced flooding before.’
Ms Cooke said the region was facing dangers on multiple fronts including coastal erosion, flash flooding, riverine flooding and landslips.
‘Don’t put your life at risk or the lives of your loved ones at risk and the lives at risk of our emergency services volunteers who are turning out in force,’ she said.
‘It was a long night last night. It’s been a very long day today, and tonight will be another long night for our emergency services workers and our volunteers.’
There are now 41 evacuation orders in place across Sydney’s south, west and north and 43 evacuation warnings due to affect at least 32,000 people (pictured, people in Sydney’s CBD)
More than 500,000 people were urged to evacuate flood-prone areas before they became trapped by rapidly rising floodwater (pictured, a weather map of NSW)
Floodwaters have hit Camden forcing thousands to flee the suburb in south-west Sydney
A submerged petrol station as floodwaters continued to rise in Camden on Sunday
A rescue worker was seen surveying the damage in Camden on Sunday after the suburb southwest of Sydney was affected by the overflowing Nepean River
Major flood warnings have been issued for the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers while moderate flood warnings remain in place for the Georges and Colo Rivers.
A severe weather warning for the metropolitan, the Illawarra, Hunter, southern parts of the Mid-North Coast and parts of the Central Tablelands also remains.
NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York said emergency kits should be prepared now in the event residents were forced to evacuate during the night.
Torrential rain is expected to intensify on Sunday night with meteorologists warning 100mm could fall overnight in ‘many areas’ across the state already drenched.
Ms York warned water levels at the Hawkesbury, Nepean and Georges rivers could peak at higher levels than in previous flood events over the last 18 months.
‘Just because it got to the front doorstep on the last floods doesn’t mean it won’t escalate overnight,’ she said, adding conditions could get ‘significantly worse’.
Sydney Harbour was impacted by heavy swells on Sunday as parts of NSW received more than their monthly average rainfall within hours this weekend (pictured, the Manly Ferry)
People stand on a rock ledge as huge swells hit the headland at Bondi Beach on Sunday
Brave Sydneysiders watched as huge swells hit the headland at Bondi Beach on Sunday
The Warragamba Dam continues to spill at a rate of 500 gigalitres after it exceeded capacity earlier than expected and began to spill at 2am on Sunday.
The dam in Sydney’s west has exceeded the levels witnessed during flooding events in March and April of 2022 and March of 2021.
The Nepean River at Wallacia in the state’s west exceeded its major flood level of 11m just before 6pm with predictions levels could rise to 14m in coming days.
Major flooding is also occurring at Menangle and North Richmond, with Windsor, Sackville and Wiseman’s Ferry also forecast to flood.
The flooded Windsor Bridge is closed between Wilberforce Road and George Street – cutting off the link between Sydney and northern Hawkesbury.
In Menangle, in the Macarthur Region, levels have exceeded the flood height reached in March (15.92m) and peaked slightly below those in April (16.83m).
The river peaked at 16.1m just before 8am on Sunday and is currently at 14.98m.
The flooding is expected to exceed some levels recorded during the last three major flood events in the Hawkesbury region dating back to March, 2021.
BOM late on Sunday night issued flood warnings for the Bogan River and Wollombi Brook as well as an initial warning for the Paterson River at Gostwyck.
The Nepean River at Camden Weir peaked at 12.72m at about 2pm on Sunday and is currently at 12.68m and falling, with moderate flooding (pictured, Camden residents)
Rescue crews rescued several dogs and their owners from a flooded area in Lansvale
Shetland ponies were rescued by boat from a flooded area in Milperra on Sunday
Residents on Terrace Rd in North Richmond were urged to leave their homes by 4pm on Sunday or risk being trapped by rising floodwaters.
BOM said spills from the Warragamba Dam coupled with inflows from the Upper Nepean River had caused the major flooding in the area.
Five evacuation centres have been set-up across Sydney, at Cabra-Vale Diggers Club in Canley Vale, the Narellan Family and Community Centre, Gymea Tradies Club, Richmond Club and North Richmond Community Centre.
The Bureau of Meteorology had a severe weather warning in place for heavy rain leading to flash flooding, winds up to 90km/h and damaging surf along the coast.
As the low pressure system responsible for the wet conditions moves across the coast strong winds are expected to intensify.
Large swathes of Sydney have been pummeled with more than 100mm of rain since the downpour began early on Saturday morning.
Parts of the Illawarra have been drenched with almost 600mm since Friday – more than half of the city’s annual rainfall in just two days.
Daily rainfall in some areas has exceeded their averages for July.
A woman believed to be aged in her 20s was forced to cling to a tree for an hour to escape rising floodwaters at Holsworthy, 30km southwest of the CBD.
A marquee is almost totally submerged in floodwaters in Camden, south-west Sydney
Daily rainfall in some areas has exceeded their averages for July (pictured, floods in Camden)
An amusement ride is seen inundated by floodwaters in Camden on Sunday
Minister Cooke said an east coast low formed over the coast of NSW and expected the heavy rainfall and flash flooding to continue until at least Tuesday.
‘For Sydney, the Central Coast and the South Coast, and the Illawarra, we are now facing dangers on multiple fronts – flash flooding, riverine flooding and coastal erosion,’ she said.
The minister has asked residents to postpone travel along the central and south coast of NSW as wet and wild conditions continue.
‘To all communities between Newcastle and Batemans Bay, I am respectfully asking that you reconsider your travel plans at this time,’ she said.
‘Please stay home if you can. It is really not the time to travel if you are in those areas that are impacted.
‘While I absolutely accept that it couldn’t come at a worse time for a lot of people and a lot of families, at the end of the day we want everyone to be safe and if that means that you need to reconsider where you go for your holiday, perhaps postpone it or delay just even by a few days.’
Flood waters have almost risen above Windsor Bridge with the heavy rain set to continue until at least Tuesday
Residents cut off from roads as floodwaters in Camden, south-west Sydney, make it impossible to access
Residents left stranded as heavy rain continued to fall and flood waters rose in Camden
Evacuation orders across NSW
The NSW SES has issued several evacuation orders across the state:
-Parts of Oakville (Saunders Road)
-Southern end of Pitt Town
-Northern part of Windsor
-Parts of Ebenezer
-North Richmond East
-Parts of Ebenezer
-Pitt Town Bottoms
-Parts of Cattai
-Cornwallis and the eastern part of Richmond Lowlands
-Parts of Pitt Town
-Low-lying areas of Agnes Banks
-Plough and Harrow Dam
-Parts of Pleasure Point
-Parts of Wallacia
-Parts of Camden and Ellis Lane
-Low-lying parts of Woronora
-Parts of Chipping Norton
-Parts of Georges Hall
-Parts of Lansvale
-Parts of Moorebank
-Parts of Warwick Farm
-Low-lying parts of Freemans Reach
-Parts of Emu Plains
-Parts of Central Yarramundi
-Parts of Penrith
Several roads are closed around the state with Richmond Bridge, Windsor, and Yarramundi bridges closed in both direction in north-west Sydney.
Newbridge Road and Milperra Road are closed between Nancy Ellis Leebold Drive and Governor Macquarie Drive.
Henry Lawson Drive is closed between Milperra Road and the Hume Highway, and between Wester Street And Cheatle Street.
Camden was one of the towns worst hit by the floods with the deputy mayor saying floods had become too common – after it was ravaged by flooding earlier this year.
‘It’s devastating. It’s the worst kind of deja vu imaginable,’ Paul Farrow said.
‘Here we are finding ourselves, for a fourth time, facing it again.’
Ms York earlier on Sunday urged residents to brace for the worst, shore up their homes with sandbags, and head to their closest evacuation centre.
‘If you think you need sandbagging, go to your area that is on the SES website or the local council website where you can get your sandbags and stop preparation for your property,’ she said.
‘Have an emergency evacuation kit ready with your documents and have some – if you are in an isolated area – food, water.
‘Look after your domestic animals and make sure that you have a plan and try and ring family and friends and organise where you might go if you do need to evacuate.’
Ms York urged residents to steer clear of floods and not attempt to travel through them.
‘It is extremely dangerous out there. Stay out of the floodwaters, and we always warn don’t drive through floodwater and particularly don’t walk through them or allow children to play near them,’ she said.
‘There is no room for the rain to stay in the dams, and they are starting to spill. The rivers are flowing fast and dangerous and then there is the risk of flash flooding depending on where the rains are.
Flooded amusement park at Camden, in south-west Sydney, following heavy rainfall on Sunday
Inundated waste bins in Camden, south-western Sydney, as wild weather batters the state
‘There are a lot of risks the community needs to be aware of, and I ask you to heed the warning.’
Shellharbour recorded 193mm of rainfall, 3.2 times its July average rainfall, Albion Park measured 172mm, 3.1 times its average, and Beaumont 161mm, 1.6 times the average, over the past two days.
Major flooding hit Menangle in Macarthur, southwest of Sydney, with river levels exceeding those seen in March this year.
Authorities are confident they are ready to help NSW residents caught out by the wild weather, and avoid a repeat of their heavily criticised flood response earlier this year.
Two defence force helicopters and 100 troops are on standby and emergency services personnel are working around the clock.
A children’s playground half underwater as heavy rain battered the state
More than 500,000 residents across south-west Sydney have been warned to evacuate as flash flooding and heavy rain batters NSW
NSW SES warned residents who remained behind in areas with evacuation orders risked becoming trapped by rising floodwaters
It comes as more than three times the average rainfall has fallen in some parts of NSW over the weekend, with more than 1,000 calls for help made to emergency services and defence force helicopters on standby to help with rescue efforts.
Road closures across the state
Several major roads have been closed as residents are warned to stay indoors and avoid travelling.
Windsor Bridge is closed between Wilberforce Road and George Street in both directions.
North Richmond: Richmond Bridge is closed in both directions.
Yarramundi: Yarramundi Bridge is closed in both directions.
Milperra: Newbridge Road/Milperra Road is closed between Nancy Ellis Leebold Drive and Governor Macquarie Drive.
Georges Hall: Henry Lawson Drive is closed between Milperra Road and the Hume Highway.
East Hills: Henry Lawson Drive is closed between Wester Street and Cheatle Street.
Between Narrabeen and Oxford Falls: Wakehurst Parkway is closed in both directions. Oxford Falls Road is closed.
Manly: Buses are replacing ferries.
Royal National Park: Audley Weir is closed in both directions.
The cold front battering the state’s east coast is forecast to get worse before it gets better, with wild winds, rough seas, and heavy rain expected to last until Monday.
Residents have been urged to avoid non-essential trips as the deluge put a dampener on the opening weekend of the NSW school holidays.
Flooding is also possible for the Hunter, Central Coast, Sydney, and the south coast, with flood watches in place for catchments between Newcastle and Batemans Bay, including Sydney and the Illawarra.
Areas at risk include Newcastle, the Central Coast, Lake Macquarie, and the Upper Coxs, Colo, Macdonald, Woronora, Patterson, Williams, and Lower Hunter rivers.
The Upper and Lower Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers are also causing concern as already-soaked catchments endure another lengthy drenching.
Dramatic footage shows the moment a terrified young woman was rescued from surging floods as wild weather wreaked havoc in NSW on Saturday night.
A severe weather warning for damaging winds and heavy rainfall was in place on Sunday for Sydney’s metropolitan areas, the Illawarra, and parts of the Hunter, Central Tablelands, and Southern Tablelands forecast districts
The woman, believed to be in her 20s, desperately clung to a tree as the freezing current ripped at her after she was swept away by the treacherous waters.
Emergency workers bravely fought to save her and managed get a lifeline to her before plucking her to safety in Holsworthy, southwest Sydney, on Saturday night.
‘Please be ready to evacuate on short notice,’ NSW Emergency Services Minister Stephanie Cooke said.
‘Please ensure that you prepare your properties as best you can and if in any doubt, please evacuate earlier.
‘Don’t necessarily wait for us to put out an order, asking or suggesting that you leave.’
The SES warned: ‘If you receive a text message from +61 444 444 444, it’s an official alert that requires attention and to take action early.’
Authorities fear that Sydney’s main water source, the Warragamba Dam, could overflow and unleash widespread flooding as the deluge smashed a 118-year record.
Ambulance, fire, police and SES personnel desperately tried to find one man who was washed away in the Hacking River near Otford, in the Illawarra, south of Sydney.
The terrified woman clung to a tree as she was battered by flood waters in southwestern Sydney
Around 500,000 residents in southwest Sydney have been told to evacuate as the heavy rain pounding the NSW east coast triggered multiple flood warnings
The terrified young woman was rescued from surging floods as wild weather continued to wreak havoc in NSW on Saturday night
A rural firefighter spotted the man in a nearby creek, and got in the rising icy waters to pull him to safety onto the riverbank.
Additional RFS crew members then helped him up to higher ground, where he was assessed for injuries and taken to hospital
Another nine people were also rescued from flood waters in Austral, southwest Sydney, when two cars were stranded in rising waters,
‘The two cars were in approximately 40cm of water, which is enough to be very dangerous,’ the Rural Fire Service said.
‘The occupants from two vehicles were assisted to higher ground by our members and they have gone home safely.’
Authorities warned earlier on Saturday the wet weather was only going to get worse, with more rain, powerful winds, and surging seas expected.
Ambulance, fire, police and SES personnel desperately tried to find a man who was washed away in the Hacking River near Otford, in Illawarra region, south of Sydney
The federal government approved ADF support at the request of NSW on Friday night, with 100 troops and two helicopters available from Sunday onwards, Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said.
‘I want to assure people that the federal government… is 100 per cent prepared for what might lie ahead,’ Senator Watt said from Brisbane on Saturday.
‘One of the things that we’ve learned over the last couple of years is that when we don’t have a federal government that takes responsibility and isn’t proactive, bad things can happen.’
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said there would be a ‘deterioration’ of weather overnight, with a risk of flash flooding and landslips.
‘The rainfall rates will increase,’ she said.
‘We’ll start to see the wind increase as well. We’ll see the seas whipped up and we’ll see the rivers respond to the rain that’s falling.’
NSW Emergency Minister Steph Cooke said flash flooding could occur anywhere from Newcastle to Jervis Bay
Torrential rain, flash flooding, landslides, damaging winds and power outages are all threatening Sydney and NSW residents
More than 200mm of rain fell south of Wollongong overnight, with between 80 and 150mm falling on Sydney and the Illawarra in just six hours.
The Illawarra district was hit by its heaviest July rainfall since 1904.
The deluge is on the first weekend of school holidays, and drivers were urged to take extra care.
‘We know floodwater is extremely dangerous, especially for drivers. If the road is flooded, turn around and find another way,’ Transport for NSW’s Roger Weeks said.
Routes in and out of Sydney are likely to face congestion, with heavy traffic expected at known pinch-points, particularly around the airport.
Hazardous surf conditions and the potential for coastal erosion are also expected.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather alert for metropolitan Sydney, Illawarra and parts of the South Coast, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands on Saturday morning
THE FIVE DAY WEATHER FORECAST IN YOUR CITY
Sunday: Showers. Max 19 Min 11.
Monday: Shower or two. Max 19 Min 12.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy. Max 20 Min 10.
Wednesday: Showers. Max 19 Min 13
Thursday: Showers. Max 18 Min 13
Sunday: Partly cloudy. Max 23 Min 11.
Monday: Partly cloudy. Max 22 Min 13.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy. Max 23 Min 12.
Wednesday: Shower or two. Max 21 Min 13
Thursday: Partly cloudy. Max 23 Min 13
Sunday: Cloudy. Max 17 Min 10.
Monday: Showers. Max 15 Min 11.
Tuesday: Showers easing. Max 15 Min 9.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Max 14 Min 5
Thursday: Shower or two. Max 15 Min 6
Sunday: Showers easing. Max 19 Min 12.
Monday: Partly cloudy. Max 19 Min 8.
Tuesday: Mostly sunny. Max 20 Min 8.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Max 18 Min 5
Thursday: Partly cloudy. Max 19 Min 6
Sunday: Partly cloudy. Max 16 Min 5.
Monday: Partly cloudy. Max 17 Min 9.
Tuesday: Showers. Max 15 Min 11.
Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Max 16 Min 4
Thursday: Possible shower. Max 14 Min 5
Sunday: Partly cloudy. Max 15 Min 0.
Monday: Cloudy. Max 15 Min 4.
Tuesday: Showers. Max 13 Min 5.
Wednesday: Cloudy. Max 14 Min 3
Thursday: Cloudy. Max 14 Min 3
Sunday: Sunny. Max 33 Min 20.
Monday: Partly cloudy. Max 32 Min 21.
Tuesday: Partly cloudy. Max 33 Min 22.
Wednesday: Sunny. Max 27 Min 14
Thursday: Sunny. Max 29 Min 15
Sunday: Partly cloudy. Max 14 Min 6.
Monday: Partly cloudy. Max 15 Min 8.
Tuesday: Shower or two. Max 14 Min 9.
Wednesday: Cloudy. Max 13 Min 4
Thursday: Possible shower. Max 13 Min 5
Source: Bureau of Meteorology