Half of NSW under water, fighting two battles: flooding and recovery

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NSW is expecting between 50-250 milimetres of rainfall today which could lead to “dangerous and life-threatening” flooding.

The Nepean River experienced major flooding last night, with significant flooding occurring at North Richmond in the Hawkesbury River.

An additional 400 emergency volunteers and ADF personnel will be deployed to assist with clean-up and recovery operations across flooded cities.

SW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said she was concerned about the communities across south-west Sydney, the Central Coast, Hunter and Sydney in general.

“I know you’re tired, it has been a long night,” she said.

“It has been a sleepless night for many people. We know that you are weary, but we need you to stay with us.

“We need you to keep listening out to the warnings, to the information that our emergency services organisations, particularly our combat agency, the SES, are putting out this morning.”

There are 76 evacuation orders in place in NSW, impacting 200,000 people. An additional 18 evacuation warnings are also in place, affecting nearly 300,000 people.

“If you are asked to leave your home, please do so, please do not put yourself or your family at risk and please don’t put the lives of our emergency services volunteers at risk,” she said.

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Nepean River sounded “like the ocean” as heavy rains cause it to swell. “For people who haven’t seen floodwaters before, it sounds like the surf, the ocean. It’s so loud,” one of the reporters of a TV channel said.

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“When you’re up here close to it, you get a real perspective on just how powerful that water is.”

The Nepean River at Penrith peaked at 8.10 metres around 3.00am this morning with moderate flooding, The Bureau of Meteorology said.

Bone-dry streets in Auchenflower, Brisbane were flooded in just half an hour as a fierce storm tore through.

“48mm fell in just 30 minutes here in Brisbane. That’s the latest information from the Weather Bureau,” Jessica Millward said, reporting from the suburb.

The sudden downpour has hampered cleanups around Brisbane.

“These streets were completely dry. There were piles of people’s belongings that they’ve spent hours and hours picking out from their flooded homes,” Millward said.

“They were all lined up ready for the council to collect as they were arriving here, council were getting ready with their Bobcats then the rain came teeming down, and these properties were flooded once again”.