Floods hit southeast Australia, forcing evacuations

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Thousands of residents were ordered to evacuate southwest Sydney, Australia’s biggest city, on Sun-day with torrential rain pounding the east coast and threatening floods in areas that were hammered in March.

Heavy rain and overflowing dams and rivers all combined to threaten flash floods and landslides along the east coast from Newcastle to Batemans Bay in New South Wales state, and rain was expected to intensify on Sunday night.

“If you were safe in 2021, do not assume you will be safe tonight. This is a rapidly evolving situa-tion and we could very well see areas impacted that have never experienced flooding before,” New South Wales emergency services minister Steph Cooke said in a televised media briefing on Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day, she urged people to reconsider holiday travel, with the rough weather having hit at the beginning of school holidays.

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Floods swamp more of Bangladesh and India, millions marooned 41 dead, millions stranded as floods hit Bangladesh, India “This is a life-threatening emergency situation,” Cooke said.

More than 200 millimetres (8 inches) of rain have fallen over many areas with some hit by as much as 350mm, the Bureau of Meteorology said, warning of flood risks along the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers.

Camden in southwest Sydney was underwater, and the weather bureau predicted water levels in the areas of North Richmond and Windsor northwest of Sydney would peak at higher levels than in the past three major flood events since March 2021.

“This could get significantly worse over the night,” State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York said.

The heavy rains caused Sydney’s main dam to spill early Sunday morning, water authorities said, adding that modelling showed the spill would be comparable to a major spill in March 2021 at the Warragamba Dam.—AFP

 

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