Half a million people across NSW are currently under evacuation orders or warnings with multiple Sydney suburbs evacuated early on Thursday.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Dean Narramore stressed during Thursday morning’s flood update that even a little rainfall is going to make a big difference to flood risk in Sydney, because everything is already drenched.
Some Sydney suburbs are still set to receive 200mm of rain over a six-hour period.
Major flooding is already occurring at North Richmond and the level at Windsor is also expected to exceed March 2021’s record flooding event. A major flood warning is also in place for the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers.
The Hawkesbury River is set to reach 15 meters on Thursday afternoon at North Richmond and is likely to exceed 12 meters at Windsor with levels of 14 meters possible by evening.
At 5am, Windsor resident Ben Sullivan told the Herald he knew the drill: it’s his third flood in two years. He had been moving his belongings, including his library of books, to higher ground since 7am on Wednesday.
“I am absolutely exhausted,” he said. Mr Sullivan planned to catch a few hours of sleep before continuing to pack and leaving the property.
A major flood warning is also in place for the Georges River at Milperra. A moderate warning is in place for Liverpool Bridge. Minor flooding is already occurring at Milperra and Liverpool.
More than 250 schools across NSW have been shut due to the flooding and resulting road closures across the state.
Around 500,000 people are now subject to evacuation orders and warnings across NSW. The most recent alerts were given to people living along the Georges River in parts of Picnic Point, Sandy Point and East Hills, all asked to leave by 9am.
Speaking on 2GB on Thursday morning, Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said there was “no doubt” the Nepean and Hawkesbury areas would be hard hit. She asked people who did not need to evacuate to stay off the roads.
“If you’re not the subject of an evacuation order, please stay home,” she said.
The highest rainfall has so far been seen in the western suburbs, with Badgerys Creek recording 143mm of rain between 9am on Wednesday and 5am on Thursday, and falls of more than 120mm at Penrith and Richmond and of more than 110mm at Bankstown and Camden.
More than 600 gigalitres of water have spilled out of Warragamba Dam since Wednesday morning.
The weather system is expected to weaken by Thursday evening, although the bureau is warning flooding and dangerous surf conditions will continue on Friday.
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