Thousands told to evacuate Sydney

2012-03-03 08:57

Sydney - Thousands of Australians were ordered on Saturday to evacuate their homes in Sydney's northwest and elsewhere in New South Wales state as heavy rainfall flooded rivers and waterways.

State Emergency Service Commissioner Murray Kear said that 3 500 people were subject to evacuation orders as 75% of the state was affected by flooding.

The swollen Hawkesbury-Nepean was threatening areas on Sydney's semi-rural northwestern outskirts near the town of Richmond, with several towns, caravan parks and low-lying homes evacuated.

"This is a moderate flood but it's unusual because we haven't seen water in this river system in a while," Kear said of the waters, which have swamped bridges and closed roads.

Days of heavy rain after a damp summer have seen Sydney's Warragamba Dam, the main source of the city's drinking water, reach capacity for the first time in 14 years - causing the water to flow over its spillways on Friday.

Authorities said the rainband stretching across the southern half of New South Wales has produced up to 200mm of rain over a three-day period and the downpour would continue over the weekend.

Kear said people needed to be prepared for flash flooding, with the prospect of a further 200 millimetres of rain over the next two days.

"This could lead to homes being isolated or inundated by water," he said.

Across New South Wales, at least 2 300 people had been cut off by the surging torrents and more than 1 500 evacuated from areas south of Sydney and from towns near the national capital Canberra due to rising flood levels.

Kear said no homes had been inundated in the past 24 hours, but he said there had been more than 40 flood rescues - including saving people trapped in cars - and warned people against attempting to drive through floodwaters.

Meanwhile the southern state of Victoria was also bracing for continued heavy rainfall and more flooding, with several northern towns isolated by the rising waters.

"This extra rain coming, it will be really setting in there this afternoon, continuing overnight and then clearing out tomorrow," the Bureau of Meteorology's Phil King told the ABC.

  • Tanie - 2012-03-03 11:35

    Grass :)~ be green afterwards, emigrants anyone?

      Castle - 2012-03-03 21:25

      what about the whole of KZN immigrating to your town since they have a cyclone brewing for the next few days idiot!!

  • goyougoodthing - 2012-03-03 12:20

    In a city of 4 million, 3500 people isn't a lot. Sensational headline, I envisioned thousands running out of their shoes over Sydney Harbour bridge, the North Shore residents being blockaded as they flee south by the poor from the south.

      Peter - 2012-03-03 14:10

      Are there squatter camps to the south?

      OzzyIn - 2012-03-03 22:29

      You Dickheads, Richmond is like 70km from central Sydney. Besides, this is a false report. According to local media (you know, people actually there) there is no problem in and around Syndey. There are problems in the greater NSW area. @Peter, there are no "squatter camps" anywhere in Australia. Neither are there high walls, electric fences, security patrols, etc. Go visit sometime. You will be safe there but you may need to learn road rules if you want to drive.

      Pierre - 2012-03-04 08:24

      @ Dirk - I see the murder rate in New Orleans is twice that of the national SA average. How are things over there in Los Angeles?

      Dirk - 2012-03-04 10:01

      I am right here in Gangsters Paradise in the RSA , one of two countries where the murders are higher than the road accidents. The other being Jamaica. Concentrating on regions in Countries? What about Kwa Mashu, Kaialisha, Cape Flats? What you need is a visit to an opthmologist and Live Skills teacher, one to remove the scales from your eyes and the other, to try and talk sense into you. Fact is that SA is in an ADVANCED state of collapse- reality!

  • Andries - 2012-03-04 04:59

    I live in the Hills District of Sydney, that is roughly 30 km north-east of the CBD. The areas where there was some concern about flooding is out another 30 to 40 km further than us... I received a late night call from concerned family because of this over enthusiastic report, got me out of bed. That has been the extent of the damage so far. Today is a beautiful Sydney day, the sun is shining and at this point pretty much everything is the same as always and it doesn’t look like there is much chance the water will rise any further for now. But of course one never knows what mother nature has is store. Squatter camps in Sydney? Pfffff...... that’s a good one.

      Dirk - 2012-03-04 10:03

      Maybe they are underground or in the outback?

  • Madluphuthu - 2012-03-04 07:38

    Squatter camps that is a good one! What if begin some serious planning and limit the number of babies to 1 or two per couple and do away with poligamy and may be they will be light at the end of the tunnel. May some years down the line squatter camps will disappear and we will be less prone to disasters!

      sesom - 2012-03-04 09:29

      Not while we have the Malemas

  • sesom - 2012-03-04 09:27

    OK SO THERE IS A LITTLE EXTRA RAIN.. SO WHAT..The country works,, No Malemas,, There is public transport.. No Shanties.. No Sowetos..

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