Australia Floods 18,000 To Evacuate From Homes In New South Wales

Weather  Mum’s nervous wait as flooding nears two homes

Most of the coastal areas in New South Wales, which is home to about a third of Australia's 25 million people, had already seen record rainfall for March by the time the downpours hit.

Unrelenting rain over the past three days swelled rivers in Australia's most populous state of New South Wales (NSW), causing widespread damage and triggering calls for mass evacuations.

Heavy rains along Australia's east coast over the weekend have brought the worst flooding in half a century in some areas, authorities said on Sunday, forcing thousands to evacuate and damaging hundreds of houses.

"This is an ongoing situation that is evolving and is extremely risky", Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament.

Just over a year ago the region was parched: suffering prolonged dought, water restrictions and unprecedented bushfires.

"While WaterNSW is not authorised to lower the storage based on weather forecasts, significant pre-releases prior to a flood event could make flooding events more risky", WeatherNSW said. "So, they are challenging times for New South Wales". "It was going fast as the ski boats go.As soon as it broke the banks, it was like a torrent", said Larry Powers, after he was rescued by emergency services following a day's wait at his property in Pitt Town.

The flooded Colo River
The flooded Colo River

"Please know that we are thinking of you and getting you support as much as we can".

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian has called the events of the past week a "one-in-100-year event".

Heavy rains have been battering Sydney since Thursday, causing the worst flooding in 60 years.

She revealed to reporters on Monday that 18,000 people have so far been evacuated from their homes - 15,000 from the Mid North Coast and 3,000 from the Hawkesbury region. "The ground is already saturated so the risk of flooding is quite high".

In Sydney's vast Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, swollen rivers were expected to peak at levels not seen since 1961, after the Warragamba Dam, which provides the bulk of Sydney's drinking water, spilled over Saturday afternoon.

A severe flood warning has been issued for large parts of New South Wales, as well as neighbouring Queensland.

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