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Australia floods worsen as thousands flee their homes in Sydney

Australia floods worsen as thousands flee their homes in Sydney
  • Rain likely in Sydney soon, heading north
  • 50,000 NSW residents face eviction
  • It rains in some places for a year in three days

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Heavy rains continued to batter Australia’s east coast on Tuesday, exacerbating the flooding crisis in Sydney, with thousands of residents ordered to leave their homes after rivers quickly passed danger levels.

Authorities said about 50,000 New South Wales residents, mostly in Sydney’s western suburbs, were either told to evacuate or warned they could receive eviction orders, up from 30,000 on Monday.

“This event is not over yet,” New South Wales Premier Dominic Beirut told reporters. “Wherever you are, please be careful when driving on our roads. There are still high risks of flash floods.”

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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who returned to Australia on Tuesday after a week-long trip to Europe, said he would tour the affected areas on Wednesday with Perrotate.

The federal government declared the floods a natural disaster, helping flood-affected residents obtain emergency funding support.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said the latest wild storm cell – which brought a year of rain in three days to some areas – is likely to subside in Sydney from Tuesday as the coastal basin moves north.

But the risk of flooding may continue throughout the week with most of the watersheds approaching their carrying capacity even before the last flood. Some areas have received 800 mm (31.5 inches) of rain since Saturday, exceeding Australia’s average annual rainfall of around 500 mm (20 inches).

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About 90 mm (3.5 inches) of rain could fall over six hours in the state’s north-central coast as of Tuesday, Bo M said, reaching 125 mm (5 inches) in some places.

Wind speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour (56 miles per hour) are also expected in many of the flood-affected places, increasing the risk of downed trees and power lines.

Emergency crews continued rescue operations on Tuesday to tow a large carrier ship that lost power off the coast of Sydney after towing lines failed in bad weather, officials said, in the face of raging waves.

Major flooding is occurring in Windsor in western Sydney, the third and most severe this year, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Videos on social media showed submerged roads and bridges, while emergency crews rescued stranded people from partially submerged vehicles stuck in high water.

Nigel Myron, a Windsor resident, said he kept his inflatable boat ready if he had to evacuate although he looks forward to getting back in place once the waters recede.

“At the end of the day, what can you do? That’s what it is and we dust ourselves out of the ashes and rebuild after the floods came and went,” Myron told ABC Television.

Great economic impact

Federal Treasury Secretary Jim Chalmers warned that the economic impact of the floods “will be significant”.

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Chalmers said the floods have likely inundated many food-producing areas, which will hurt supplies and raise prices, further straining family budgets already struggling with high prices for vegetables and fruits.

“There’s no point in dealing with that,” Chalmers told Sky News. “The inflation problem we have in our economy is going to get worse before it gets better. It has a lot of sources, but this (the flood) will be one of them.” .

The Reserve Bank of Australia noted that the floods are “also affecting some rates” as it raised its cash rate by 50 basis points on Tuesday and announced further tightening ahead to tame rising inflation. Read more

The Australian Insurance Board, which declared the floods a “significant event”, urged affected people to apply, although the full extent of the damage is now unknown.

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Reporting by Ringo Jose. Editing by David Gregorio and Lincoln Fest.

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.