Mark Baker / AP
RICHMOND, Australia – Hundreds of homes have been flooded in and around Australia’s largest city in a flood emergency that created problems for 50,000 people, officials said on Tuesday.
Emergency teams made 100 rescues during the night of people trapped in cars on flooded roads or in flooded homes in the Sydney area, said Ashley Sullivan, head of state for emergency services.
Days of torrential rain have caused dams to overflow and waterways to break their banks, leading to a fourth flood event in 16 months to parts of the city of 5 million people.
Evacuation orders and warnings to prepare to leave home were given to 50,000 people, up from 32,000 on Monday, New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said.
“This event is far from over. Do not be complacent wherever you are. Be careful when driving on our roads. There is still a significant risk of flooding in our state,” Perrottet said.
The state government of New South Wales declared a disaster in 23 local government areas overnight, activating financial assistance from the federal government for flood victims.
Emergency Services Secretary Steph Cooke credited the skill and commitment of rescue crews to preventing deaths or serious injuries within the fourth day of the flood emergency.
Parts of southern Sydney had been whipped by nearly 8 inches of rain in 24 hours, more than 17% of the city’s annual average, said meteorologist Jonathan How at the Bureau of Meteorology.
Mark Baker / AP
Severe weather forecasts for heavy rain remained in place over Sydney’s eastern suburbs on Tuesday. The warnings also extended north of Sydney along the coast and into the Hunter Valley.
The worst flooding was along the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system along the northern and western outskirts of Sydney.
“The good news is that tomorrow afternoon it looks like it will be mostly dry, but of course we remind people that this floodwater will remain very high after the rain has stopped,” said How.
“It rained a lot overnight, and it’s actually seeing some rivers peak for the second time. So you have to take many days, if not a week, to start seeing the floodwaters start to recede,” How said. to.
Residents of Lansvale, southwestern Sydney, were amazed at the rate at which their area was flooded and the increasing frequency of such floods.
“Well, it happened in 1986 and ’88, then it did not happen in 28 years and, then, 2016 and 2020, and now it has happened four times this year,” a local in Lansvale identified only as Terry told Australian Broadcasting Corp. that his home was flooded.
The wild weather and mountainous seas along the New South Wales coast thwarted plans to tow an affected cargo ship with 21 crew members to safety on the high seas.
The ship lost power after leaving the port of Wollongong, south of Sydney, on Monday morning and risked being grounded by 26-foot swells and wind blowing at 54 km / h against rocks.
An attempt to tow the ship with tugs out to sea was ended when a tow line broke in a 36-foot swell late Monday, said Port Authority chief Philip Holliday.
The ship held its position further from the coast on Tuesday than it had been on Monday with two anchors and the help of two tugs. The original plan had been for the ship’s crew to repair their engine at sea. The new plan was to tow the ship to Sydney when weather and sea conditions calmed down as early as Wednesday, Holliday said.
“We are in a better position than we were yesterday,” Holliday said. “We are in relative safety.”
Perrottet described the tugboat crews’ response on Monday to saving the ship as “heroic”.
“I want to thank the men and women who were on those crews last night for the heroic work they did under incredibly treacherous conditions. Having an 11 meter (36 foot) swell, going through and performing that work is incredibly impressive,” he said. Perrottet.