NSW weather: flood rescues, power blackouts and transport chaos as storms lash state

Mostafa Rachwani
·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

Severe thunderstorms that lashed the New South Wales coast left parts of the state dealing with flash flooding, power cuts and traffic chaos on Monday morning.

Heavy rainfall has soaked the state since Friday, with some areas around Sydney and the north coast receiving more than 100mm within 24 hours.

The State Emergency Service said it had received 545 requests for assistance across the weekend, most from Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

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It carried out six flood rescues across the state, with most involving cars getting stuck in floodwaters.

Several roads in north Sydney were closed on Monday morning as heavy rain continued to cause dangerous conditions. Public transport was also thrown into chaos, with several ferries cancelled and the Central Coast train line delayed.

There were numerous power cuts across the state, with Terrigal, South Turramurra, Turramurra, West Pymble, Avalon Beach, Bilgola and Bilgola Plateau among the areas affected on Monday.

Heavy rain was expected to continue throughout Monday, potentially leading to more flooding, with Mount Elliot, Gosford and Williamtown all receiving overnight totals of above 100mm.

Conditions are set to continue throughout the week, with winds of up to 80km/h buffeting the coast, and a warning of damaging winds issued for the southern tablelands, Snowy Mountains and Canberra.

“We do have some hazardous conditions at the moment for the beaches, with the strong south-easterly winds whipping up a bigger south-easterly swell up to around four, potentially five metres,” Bureau of Meteorology spokeswoman Rebecca Kamitakahara told ABC radio.

The rain has been welcomed by some farmers across western NSW.

“They’re not seeing as quite as high rainfall totals as what we’re getting on the coast but they are still seeing some more steady, persistent rain on top of what they saw on the weekend.” Kamitakahara said.

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A severe thunderstorm and heavy rain warning has also been issued for Lismore, Grafton, Casino and Yamba on the state’s north coast.

The BoM issued a hazardous surf warning and a marine wind warning for the entire NSW coastline, other than the extreme north.

Surf Life Saving NSW warned that conditions would be dangerous and advised people to stay out of the water.

“We strongly recommend members of the public not to engage in risky coastal activities such as rock fishing over the next two days,” said Joel Wiseman, the director of lifesaving. “If people put themselves in danger in these conditions, it could be very challenging for our surf lifesavers to rescue them.”

The severe weather has been caused by a slow moving tough of low pressure sitting off the coast, which was expected to move offshore later on Monday, easing conditions for the rest of the week.