Warning over 'brutal, scary' weather to batter east coast for days

Olivia Lambert
·News Editor
·5-min read

Parts of Australia's east coast are being battered by a huge deluge of rain as residents are warned of "extremely dangerous" weather and flooding for many regions.

Several towns along the NSW coast have been issued flood warnings after torrential rain battered the state on Thursday. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has asked residents to stay home this weekend.

An evacuation order was issued for some parts of Bulahdelah on the Mid North Coast on Friday morning following flooding.

The Macleay River near Kempsey on the Mid North Coast received 304mm of rain in the 24 hours up until 9am on Friday.

Nambucca Heads and Nelson Bay received 217 and 202mm respectively over the same period. Parts of Newcastle recorded more than 150mm while Sydney copped 54mm with more to come.

It follows flooding in Queensland's Central Highlands and Capricornia regions earlier this week. Byfield, north of Rockhampton, was hammered with 685mm of rain over two days, including 550mm in the 24 hours up until 9am Wednesday.

A weather map shows severe rainfall in parts of Sydney and NSW.
Rainfall in the Greater Sydney area over the 24 hours before 9am Friday. Source: BoM

A three to four day event of 'extraordinary' rain for NSW

NBN Television weather reporter Gavin Morris warned people on Thursday on the NSW north coast to brace for days of heavy rain.

"We're moving through an extremely dangerous weather event and it's only just begun," he told viewers in a blunt weather report on Thursday.

"The first region to hit 150mm was Port Stephens ... roads literally getting washed away around there," he said.

"This is a three to four day event ... truly extraordinary," he said.

He added the weather event was intense and hitting a hotspot from the Coffs Coast and Port Macquarie down to the Newcastle and Central Coast region.

On Friday, Port Macquarie received 62mm of rain from 9am to 11.30am while Nelson Bay was lashed with 203mm and Mount Seaview, on the Mid North Coast, copped 152mm.

"It is going to be really quite brutal," Morris said.

"It's the size of this event which is really huge, extending really from the Clarence Valley all the way south to beyond the Shoalhaven coast. Truly extraordinary stuff ... it's really quite scary.

"You can see the entire east coast, the threat of flooding rain continues over the weekend and into next week."

The areas that will cop the biggest deluge over the next five days.
The 'extraordinary' weather event is expected to last the next four days. Source: Windy

He said a separate system would also move inland and predicted huge rainfall across the Murray-Darling basin, which could be good news for a mouse plague affecting Dubbo.

"But the problem is, it looks like this whole system is then going to pass over the coast by the time we start seeing [the current weather event] break down around next Tuesday," he said.

"So then as we enter Wednesday, the likelihood of having the passing of this system move through, which is going to drop more rain on what will be by then a largely flooded coastline, so it's a very dangerous event."

BoM warns of life-threatening flooding in NSW

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding in Mid North Coast and Hunter districts throughout Friday and overnight.

"Intense rain, possible life-threatening flooding, and gusty conditions," the warning said.

"Roads are likely to be cut off by water, and there will be an increased risk of landslips over this period.

"Damaging winds, averaging 60 to 70km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90km/h, are possible along the coastal fringe of the Mid North Coast this afternoon and evening, and potentially the Hunter coast on Saturday morning."

A road washed away by heavy floodwaters in Port Stephens.
Roads are being washed away by floodwaters in Port Stephens. Port Stephens Council

NSW Premier advises residents to stay home

Flood watch alerts have been issued for the Central Coast, Sydney metro and Illawarra coast and Far West areas.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has encouraged all residents to stay at home over the weekend and avoid long-distance travel to the regions lashed by wild weather.

Overnight on Thursday, up to 100mm of rain fell across the region, sparking more than 400 calls for help to the NSW State Emergency Service.

SES rescues across NSW including Sydney

In the past 24 hours, SES crews have undertaken at least 11 flood rescues, three of which were in western Sydney.

NSW SES assistant commissioner Sean Kearns said drivers should reconsider their travel and avoid driving in flood waters, and admitted the service's volunteers were preparing for a difficult weekend.

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"We are responding as we get calls for assistance, we are putting warnings out to local communities. At this stage there is a flood watch for 23 river catchments," Mr Kearns told the Nine Network on Friday.

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

with AAP

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