Millions of Australians are bracing for more heavy rain, widespread flooding and landslides as a significant weather system wreaks havoc on the east coast.
As Sydney officially recorded its wettest year on record on Thursday, NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke warned of a ‘dangerous day’ predicted for Saturday.
"We know that our catchments are saturated," she said.
"The dams are full and our rivers are already swollen so any extra rainfall – no matter how minor – is likely to exacerbate existing flooding.”
Flood warnings are also in place in parts of Queensland, Victoria, the ACT and Tasmania.
Warning for increased risk of landslides
A trough tracking over NSW towards the coast was developing on Saturday and was likely to bring intense rainfall and the risk of flash flooding, the Bureau of Meteorology's Helen Kirkup said on Friday.
Six hourly rainfall totals of 30-50 millimetres are predicted in the Central Tablelands, the Hunter region and metropolitan Sydney, with isolated areas expected to receive up to 70mm.
After a soggy week in NSW, heavy falls on already saturated grounds would heighten the risk of landslides and debris falling across roads, Ms Kirkup said.
While the worst of the weather is forecast for Sydney, the Hunter region and the Central Tablelands, other areas can also expect rain.
The system is expected to blanket the state, with widespread showers forecast from the mid-north coast to the southern end of the state.
Damaging winds are forecast through the Sydney metropolitan and Illawarra coast on Saturday through to Sunday morning, with winds of 60-70km/h and peak gusts of more than 90km/h.
The State Emergency Operations Centre opened at Homebush, NSW Police said on Saturday, so experts could monitor the situation and co-ordinate a whole-of-government response.
Campers face 100mm falls
Campers at the Bathurst 1000 have been warned of muddy, stormy and potentially dangerous conditions, with heavy falls predicted across Mount Panorama on Saturday and Sunday.
Up to 100mm could fall on the tens of thousands of fans expected to attend, potentially leading to flooding along the Macquarie River in Bathurst.
Free sandbags are available in the town, while volunteers are checking in with residents and tourists camping near the river.
‘If it’s flooded, forget it’
As rain continues to soak much of NSW, and flood peaks flow down already swollen rivers, the bureau has warned of a widespread risk of significant riverine flooding for multiple inland catchments.
Major flooding is occurring along the Macquarie, Darling, Culgoa and Lachlan rivers.
Renewed flooding is a risk at inland and coastal catchments including the Gwydir, Namoi, Macquarie and Belubula rivers, Mandagery Creek, the Lachlan and Bogan rivers, Colo River, Wollombi Brook and Lower Hunter rivers.
State emergency operations controller Peter Cotter asked that the community work with emergency services and follow any directions they were given.
"Those in flood-prone areas are urged to avoid essential travel and drive to the conditions on the roads," he said.
"Please obey road closures and remember, if it's flooded, forget it."
- with AAP
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