Shocking photo reveals extent of Sydney's flooding crisis

Brooke Rolfe
·News Reporter
·4-min read

An incredible satellite image has revealed the scale of the unthinkably large mass of land in Sydney that drowned beneath a week of record-breaking rain.

Widespread flooding northwest of Sydney and across the NSW mid-north coast was captured on Thursday afternoon from 786 kilometres above the earth by the Sentinel-2 satellite.

The shocking image was uploaded to Twitter by Weatherzone reporter Anthony Sharwood who described how "flooded areas near Windsor on the Hawkesbury River clearly cover an area much larger than Sydney Harbour".

Despite clearing conditions, water on Thursday had yet to recede for a huge area of land, which was speculated to be about three or four times the size of the Sydney Harbour.

The Sydney Harbour appeared minuscule in comparison to the water still inundating the Windsor and Richmond areas, which is just 60 kilometres from Sydney's CBD by road.

This photo shows the mass amount of land covered in flood water (top left) compared to the Sydney Harbour (bottom right). Source: Twitter/Sentinel-2 via EO Browser, Sinergise Ltd.
This photo shows the mass amount of land covered in flood water (top left) compared to the Sydney Harbour (bottom right). Source: Twitter/Sentinel-2 via EO Browser, Sinergise Ltd.

Huge areas of land and several river channels were shown filled with dark, muddy floodwater which for many areas, appeared to be remaining somewhat stagnant.

Where the Hawkesbury River meets the ocean at Broken Bay however, the murky water could be seen discharging several kilometres out to sea.

Weatherzone developer Andrew Miskelly earlier on Thursday shared an infographic to Twitter showing floodwaters in northern NSW gradually draining towards the Barwon River and Darling River.

While the water had begun its journey away from homes and properties, Mr Miskelly said the "area affected remains vast".

'Not out of the woods yet'

The floodwaters are expected to still linger for at least the next couple days, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

"The floods haven't receded, so that doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet," meteorologist Jane Golding said on Thursday.

The sheer volume of rain that fell across the state will take quite some time to work its way through the river systems, hydrologist Victoria Dodds said.

"We've seen exceptionally high flood levels, high-velocity flows, lots of dangerous debris in these floodwaters," she told reporters on Thursday.

"We still do have very dangerous conditions out there. It's certainly not a time to be complacent."

Ms Dodds said flood warnings would likely remain in force across the state, particularly in inland areas, for the days and weeks ahead.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian also pleaded with people to stay out of floodwaters after two drivers died trapped in their cars.

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A man died in Glenorie in northwest Sydney on Wednesday and the body of another man was found submerged in a ute in Queensland's southeast.

"You may have heard your local river has peaked or that the worst of the rising waters may have may have ceased (but) the currents underneath the surface are very strong and the flows are doing things that they don't normally do," she said.

There have been 11,000 calls for help to the NSW State Emergency Service, and 950 flood rescues.

Crews focus on northern rivers

Fire and Rescue NSW have also rescued three people who were swallowed by a sinkhole near the Mehi River in Moree, where major flooding is occurring.

There is still significant flooding along a number of rivers, but the focus has turned to the northern rivers region, particularly Grafton, Maclean and Ulmarra.

Those in low-lying areas of Ulmarra, Bushgrove and Cowper were ordered to leave on Wednesday afternoon.

Major flooding is also occurring along the Hawkesbury River and authorities say it's likely to continue in North Richmond and Windsor until the end of the week.

Moree in the northwest, the Upper Hunter around Singleton and parts of the Central Coast are still of concern.

With AAP

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