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NSW flood nightmare continues


Major flooding has returned to NSW with more than 30,000 people given evacuation orders or warnings as heavy rain continues, with some communities inundated for the fourth time this year.

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Some 71 evacuation orders and 64 warnings are in place, covering about 32,000 people, mostly in the Hawkesbury-Nepean area northwest of Sydney, where the flooding is worst.

The Bureau of Meteorology says the heavy rain may lead to flash flooding in the Illawarra, Blue Mountains, Sydney Metropolitan and parts of Hunter and Central Coast districts.

Several areas have received more than 150mm of rain in the past 24 hours, BOM hazards preparation and response manager Jane Golding said on Monday.

“We are still seeing a steady stream of showers … we’re expecting rainfall for some locations to be very high again today,” she said.

The flood risk will remain even after the rain stops, with saturated catchments likely to react quickly to any rain in the next couple of weeks.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the latest inundation could threaten more people and properties than previous floods in western Sydney over the last 18 months.

“Experiences in the past do not necessarily mean that the flood event will be the same and therefore there could be a worse situation that you find yourselves in,” he said, urging people to follow SES warnings and orders.

“They are not in place for the sake of it, they are there to keep you and your family safe,” he said.

NSW has requested another 100 Australian Defence Force members, on top of 100 who joined the flood effort on Sunday, helping with sandbagging and doorknocking in affected communities.

Perrottet said the Commonwealth government’s response so far has been “incredibly pleasing” and the immediate deployment of the ADF was an improvement compared to floods earlier this year.

Warragamba Dam is spilling the equivalent of a Sydney Harbour’s worth of water a day, adding to the already swollen Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers.

The rivers are above the major flood levels at North Richmond, Windsor, and Menangle.

The SES responded to more than 400 requests for help overnight and performed about 20 flood rescues, with those numbers expected to increase.

Evacuation centres have been set up across western Sydney at Canley Vale, Narellan, Gymea, Richmond, North Richmond and Castle Hill, and at Gosford on the Central Coast.

Flood Recovery Minister Steph Cooke said 184 people had registered at evacuation centres and 68 people were in emergency accommodation.

Commonwealth natural disaster declarations are expected to be made within the next 24 hours.

Some people living in Camden in Sydney’s southwest have been hit with flooding for the fourth time this year.

Camden Council deputy mayor Paul Farrow said the southwest Sydney community was heartbroken and fatigued by repeated flooding over the past 18 months.

“It’s the worst case of deja vu you could possibly imagine,” he said.

“We’re becoming used to it unfortunately.”

The Transport Management Centre has advised against non-essential travel, with many roads closed by floodwaters, landslips and fallen trees.

Transport for NSW warned of delays and gaps in public transport services.

People have been encouraged to delay any school holiday related travel as well, with South Coast areas at risk of prolonged flooding.

The rain could ease during the afternoon and evening on Monday but six-hourly rainfall totals between 60mm to 100mm are possible at locations in Sydney and the Illawarra before then.

Waves up to five metres could also lead to coastal erosion, Golding said.

-with AAP

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