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Thousands ordered to evacuate as Sydney rivers rise

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Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate as heavy rain continues across New South Wales, with the state again dealing with a major flood crisis.

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The federal government is on standby for when NSW declares a state of emergency, which would activate Commonwealth financial aid.

Scores of evacuation orders and warnings have been declared, mostly north-west of Sydney, where major flooding is occurring along the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers at Menangle, North Richmond, Lower Portland and Windsor.

Residents in parts of Chipping Norton in Sydney’s south-west were directed to evacuate by 11.45pm last night, as flood waters rose at Milperra.

Flood warnings are in place for the Georges and Woronora rivers.

The SES is warning that people who don’t leave when directed may become trapped without power, water and other essential services and it may be too dangerous to rescue them.

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.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the latest inundation could threaten more people and properties than previous floods.

“Experiences in the past do not necessarily mean that the flood event will be the same … there could be a worse situation,” he said.

He urged people to follow SES orders.

The State Emergency Services had received more than 3900 requests for help and conducted 85 rescues to 3pm on Monday.

Firefighters came to the aid of the family whose car had become stranded near the corner The River Road and Prince Street. No one was hurt in the incident.

Rain is forecast for the rest of the week and the flood risk will remain even after the wet weather stops, with saturated catchments likely to react quickly to any falls in the coming weeks.

There are severe weather warnings of damaging winds, hazardous surf and heavy rain that may cause flash flooding in the Illawarra, Blue Mountains, Sydney Metropolitan and parts of Hunter and Central Coast districts.

NSW has requested another 100 Australian Defence Force members, on top of 100 who joined on Sunday, helping with sandbagging and doorknocking.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said he was on standby to help NSW, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and Perrottet discussing the situation overnight.

“We want to be very quick and thorough when it comes to providing recovery support to people as well,” Watt told the ABC.

Flood Recovery Minister Steph Cooke said communities will get help to recover from yet another flood when disaster declarations are made.

“For many communities, this is the fourth flood that they have seen in less than 18 months,” she Cooke said.

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

Risk Frontiers resilience general manager Andrew Gissing said community flood recovery can be hindered by repeat events.

“They are forced to continually pick up the pieces,” he said.

Warragamba Dam began spilling on Sunday morning, and by evening water was gushing over the wall at a rate of 515 gigalitres per day.

The dam flows into the swollen Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers, which are above major flood levels in multiple areas.

 – The New Daily & AAP

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