NSW floods: Sydney battered by rain and mid north coast evacuated amid wild weather

Dozens of rivers along NSW coast flooded as Sydneysiders urged to stay home

A “potentially life-threatening” downpour that has flooded rivers and triggered evacuations along the New South Wales coast is battering Sydney with up to 100 millimetres of rain expected to hit the city and residents urged to stay home.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the deluge would be “substantially heavier” than the strong rain that has plagued Sydney for most of the week.

A severe weather warning was issued on Saturday, covering an area from the mid north coast to the far south coast of NSW as well as Canberra.

The Bureau of Meteorology said there was intense rainfall “potentially leading to life-threatening flash flooding” and damaging winds averaging 60-70km/h with gusts exceeding 90km/h.

It said strong winds may generate damaging surf, with significant wave heights of five metres in the surf zone bringing potential for coastal erosion.

The rain will not be of the same intensity that hit the mid-north coast on Thursday and Friday.

Jonathan How, a Bom spokesman, said catchments were “saturated”, leading to “dangerous” river conditions and flash flooding will was expected to continue all through the weekend.

“Unfortunately the next dry day isn’t until about Wednesday,” How told the ABC. “We will see a bit of easing in the rain on Sunday and Monday, but still expecting widespread 50mm to 100mm right across eastern NSW, with particular concern around the Blue Mountains.

“They will see the heaviest of the rain over the next 24-48 hours.”

State Emergency Service (SES) crews undertook at least 57 flood rescues and responded to more than 1,300 calls for help, as a dozen rivers along the NSW coast flooded.

The state emergency operations controller, Gary Worboys, asked the public to be vigilant.

“Members of the public in the flood-affected areas need to heed the warnings and advice of the NSW State Emergency Service and all emergency services,” he said.

“Our message is clear – do not put your life or that of emergency service personnel in danger. Floodwater is extremely dangerous as it can have fast moving undercurrents that can wash people and vehicles away.

“Everyone should always remember to never drive, ride or walk through floodwater.”

Major flood warnings are in place for at least five waterways, including the Hastings and Gloucester rivers.

There was major flooding along the Hastings River at Kindee Bridge, Wauchope and Settlement Point.

The Hastings River at Kindee Bridge peaked at 12.1m about 11pm on Friday and is currently at 9.87m and falling with major flooding.

The Hastings River at Wauchope is currently at 8.5m and near its peak with major flooding.

The Hastings River at Settlement Point is likely to peak near 2.1m about 10am on Saturday with major flooding.

Major flooding also hit Macksville and Bowraville overnight.

Residents of low-lying areas of Port Macquarie were told to evacuate on Friday, amid expectations a “significant” number of properties would be inundated.

Nearby areas of North Haven, Dunbogan, Camden Head, Laurieton were also ordered to leave, as well as those living in Kempsey and along the lower Macleay River.

While the worst of the system has passed, emergency services have warned road and surf conditions will remain dangerous and are telling motorists and boaties to stay home.

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

Australian Associated Press contributed to this report

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