Sydney breaks rainfall record as forecasters fear 'enormous' weather event

It's official. Sydney is enduring its wettest year on record.

The previous annual record of 2194mm of rain, which had stood since 1950, was broken at 12.30pm on Thursday after 27.2mm of rain fell at Sydney's Observatory Hill Bureau of Meteorology station since 9am.

The bulk of the rain fell in about 90 minutes, beginning at 11am.

With nearly three months remaining in 2022 and the declaration of a third consecutive La Nina by the BOM in September, more rain is expected to fall before the end of the year, further inflating the record.

Sydney CBD shoppers shelter from wild weather, heavy rain under umbrellas, Sydney.
Records are being broken and communities are on flood watch as wild weather lashes eastern Australia. Source: AAP

Communities are on flood watch as heavy rain lashes eastern Australia with much more to come over the next few days.

An "enormous" band of cloud and rain towered over the entire east coast on Wednesday. Storms, rain, and bursts of heavy falls are expected on Thursday and Friday in parts of southern Queensland, NSW, and Victoria.

River catchments could overflow

Heavy rain is set to fall in areas where catchments are already full, including around the Murray Darling Basin and rivers east of the Great Dividing Range in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. The excess rain could cause catchments to overflow.

Speaking of inland NSW especially, Dean Narramore from the Bureau of Meteorology said this is "likely to lead to widespread flooding across many of our rivers across NSW."

A map of Australia with a band of cloud and rain extending from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Bass Strait and beyond, coming to eastern parts of Australia.
The 'massive' band of cloud and rain on Wednesday extending from the Gulf of Carpentaria to Bass Strait and beyond. Source: Weather Zone

"Many of our gauges across inland NSW are experiencing minor, moderate or major flooding, that’s been increasing over the last few days," Mr Narramore said.

"And this is before the forecast rainfall has even occurred. That’s why we’re so worried about the rainfall in the coming days."

NSW flood warnings

Flood warnings are current across inland catchments including the Namoi, Macquarie, Bogan, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, Murray, Edward, Culgoa, Birrie, Bokhara, Warrego, Paroo, Barwon, Darling, Macintyre and Snowy rivers.

A flood watch has also been issued for coastal catchments including the Hunter, Hawkesbury and Colo rivers, and Wollombi Brook, with rises expected from Thursday to Friday.

On Saturday and Sunday, we can expect a final sweep across southern Queensland, NSW and eastern Victoria.

with AAP

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