Heavy rain forces parts of Sydney to evacuate, downpour to continue

Saeed KHAN / AFP

People in parts of Sydney's northwest were ordered to evacuate their houses in the middle of the night as heavy rains continued to batter Australia’s east coast on Sunday.

Flooding risk and evacuation warnings were in place for about 12 areas in New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state with 8 million people, with rivers swelling and rain accumulation posing danger.

"It's not just the rain which is causing the devastation," Jonathan How, senior meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology, told the ABC News state broadcaster. "It's strong winds as well."

He added that the heavy downpour is set to continue for the rest of Sunday in Sydney and throughout the state, with some areas expected to get up to 7.9 inches of rain.

Emergency services said they had received about 600 calls overnight asking for help; more than 60 of those were pleas for rescue from floods.

Television and social media footage showed fast-moving water unmooring houses, engulfing roads, breaking trees and damaging road infrastructure.

The extreme weather was affecting COVID-19 vaccine delivery to Sydney and disrupting the country's plans to deliver the first vaccine doses to almost 6 million people over the next few weeks. 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, who is expected to hold a briefing later on Sunday, said the weather system moving through the state could be a one-in-25-year rain event.

"This will be a deep-seated, extreme weather event," she said on Saturday. 

More from International

Coming Up on Dubai Eye

  • Lunch with Lloyd

    11:00am - 2:00pm

    No one knows entertainment better than veteran Dubai broadcaster Mark Lloyd.

  • Afternoons with Helen Farmer

    2:00pm - 5:00pm

    Every weekday afternoon, Helen Farmer will help you to navigate the highs and lows of life in the UAE. Stay up to date with what’s happening and where to go.

BUSINESS BREAKFAST LATEST

On Dubai Eye

  • Meet Gift, female food delivery driver

    Gift came here from Nigeria and failed to find a job, until a pizza company offered her one. She's now one of the very few female delivery drivers in the UAE.

  • FARMER'S KITCHEN

    Farmer's Kitchen is back for 2021!
    With our partners Spinneys, we are going to help you wave goodbye to boring dinners, cluttered fridges, and lumpy leftovers!