RICHMOND, Australia (AP) – Hundreds of homes in and around Australia’s largest city have been submerged in flash floods that have caused problems for 50,000 people, officials said Tuesday.
Emergency response teams rescued 100 people trapped overnight on flooded roads or in flood-hit homes in the Sydney area overnight, said Ashley Sullivan, the state’s emergency services director.
Days of heavy rain have caused dams to fill and waterways to break their banks, creating the fourth flood emergency in urban areas of 5 million people in 16 months.
New South Wales Prime Minister Dominique Pirotte said evacuation orders and warnings had been issued to 50,000,32,000 people to prepare to leave their homes, up from 32,000 on Monday.
“This incident is far from over. Please don’t, wherever you are. Please be careful when you drive on our roads. There is still a significant risk of flooding in our state,” Pirotit said. .
The New South Wales state government declared a disaster in 23 local government areas overnight, activating federal government funding for flood victims.
Emergency Services Minister Steve Cook praised the rescue team’s skill and commitment to preventing any deaths or serious injuries on the fourth day of the flood emergency.
More than 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours in parts of southern Sydney, more than 17% of the city’s annual average, said Jonathan Howe, a meteorologist with the Meteorological Agency.
Heavy rain warnings remained in place in eastern Sydney towns on Tuesday. The warning also extends north of Sydney along the coast and into Hunter Valley.
The worst flooding was along the Hawksbury-Nippon River system in the northern and western suburbs of Sydney.
“The good news is that it will be very dry by tomorrow afternoon, but of course we are reminding people that the floodwaters will remain very high after the rains stop,” he said.
“It rained a lot at night and it really looks like some rivers for the second time. So you have to take several days, if not a week, to see if the floodwaters start coming back.”
Residents of Lanceville in south-west Sydney have been shocked by the speed at which their area has been submerged and the increasing frequency of such floods.
“Well, it happened in 1986 and 1988, then it wasn’t in 28 years, so in 2016 and 2020 and now it happened four times this year.A local Lanceville man, identified only as Terry, told Australian Broadcasting Corporation television that his home had been flooded.
Wild weather and mountainous seas along the New South Wales coast thwarted plans to sail a heavy cargo ship with 21 crew members to open sea safety.
The boat lost power after taking off from the port of Wollongong, south of Sydney, on Monday morning and was swept away by 8 meters (26 feet) of swell and wind at a speed of 30 knots (34 miles per hour). Going forward was risky.
Philip Holliday, chief executive of the Port Authority, said the attempt to take the boat out to sea ended when a towel fell into an 11-meter (36-foot) swell late Monday.
The boat maintained its position off the coast on Tuesday with the help of two anchors and two tugboats. The original plan was for the boat crew to repair their engine at sea. The new plan was to send the boat to Sydney when the weather and sea conditions calmed down early Wednesday, Holiday said.
“We’re in better shape than we were yesterday,” Holiday said. “We are in relative security.”
Pirates described the Tugboat crew’s response to rescuing the boat on Monday as “brave.”
“I want to thank the men and women who were on the crew last night for the heroic work they did under unacceptable treasonous conditions. Doing and doing is very exciting, ”Pirotit said.
McGregor reported from Canberra, Australia.