Residents ordered to evacuate amid 'life-threatening' downpour

Yahoo News Australia and agencies
·4-min read

Residents in a number of towns on NSW's waterlogged mid north coast have been ordered to leave their homes as a "potentially life-threatening" deluge continues.

Residents in low-lying areas of Port Macquarie are the latest to be told to evacuate, with a "significant" number of properties expected to be inundated.

"NSW SES is directing people within low lying properties in Port Macquarie to evacuate the high danger area," NSW SES said in a warning.

Flood warnings are current across many of NSW's rivers as a deluge of rain continues. Source: AAP/Port Stephens Council
A road collapsed due to floodwater on Foreshore Drive in Corlette on Thursday. Source: AAP/Port Stephens Council

"Once floodwater passes 1.75 on the Settlement Point gauge at Port Macquarie a significant number of properties will be inundated."

Nearby areas of North Haven, Dunbogan, Camden Head, and Laurieton have also been ordered to evacuate, with floodwaters likely to impact water, power and internet.

Residents in parts of Bulahdelah, near Forster, were earlier on Friday warned they could be evacuated too.

Flood warnings are current across many of the major rivers on the mid north coast, as well as greater Sydney and the state's far west.

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Heavy rain is expected to be seen between Newcastle and Kiama, including Sydney and the Blue Mountains on Saturday, and the intense rain may result in "life-threatening flash flooding", the Bureau of Meteorology warned.

"We are seeing very intense, very heavy, potentially life-threatening rainfall happening on the mid north coast right now," the Bureau of Meteorology's Agata Imielska told reporters.

"We're seeing rainfall totals of over 100mm falling in about an hour."

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Dam spill "likely", with people urged to stay home

There have been very significant river level rises in a number of communities, especially in Bowraville and Bellingen, the bureau's flood manager Justin Robinson said.

Major flooding is also expected along the Gloucester River, and moderate flooding is likely to hit Taree.

It will be Sydney's turn on Saturday when the system moves south.

"We might see quite significant flash flooding and we've got a flood watch current for both the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers," Mr Robinson said.

"We're likely to see a spill from Warragamba Dam and that will then impact those communities downstream."

Emergency services have warned road and surf conditions will remain dangerous and are telling motorists and boaties to stay home.

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In the past 24 hours, SES crews have undertaken at least 14 flood rescues and fielded more than 400 calls for help.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian reiterated the message on Friday.

"Normally we're telling people to travel around NSW, but this weekend is an exception," she told reporters.

"We just want everybody to stay around and close to their homes, to be safe and to follow those messages. This weekend is going to be quite severe."

The deluge is set to continue well into next week and could deliver the heaviest rainfall since February 2020, when Greater Sydney was hit.

Inland NSW is also expected to get its share of the rain when a separate system moves in next week.

"At the earliest we might see a clear trend towards the end of next week," Ms Imielska said.

Work is seen underway on a sea wall in an area prone to coastal erosion, at Collaroy beach in Sydney, Friday, March 19, 2021.
More rain is forecast for the NSW coast and other parts of the state, with flood warnings in place and the premier advising residents to stay home. Source: AAP

With AAP

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