Thousands of families across rain-soaked New South Wales face their homes being flooded as a once in a century mega-storm lashes Australia’s east coast.
Conditions were unstable and unpredictable as more flood alerts were declared for parts of western Sydney and NSW mid-north coast.
Surging floodwaters in Sydney’s west and north-west are now higher than the catastrophic 1961 flood, with residents in parts of Penrith being told to flee their homes by 9 pm before floods were expected to peak.
Other residents in the area were told to get out by 4.30 pm as the Nepean River broke its banks and floods of water destroyed homes.
The Bureau of Meteorology announced major flood alerts for the Hawkesbury, Nepean and Colo Rivers, warning of extreme flooding at Windsor, Sackville, Lower Portland and Wisemans Ferry.
The Hawkesbury at Richmond was forecast to reach 15 metres by 7 pm, with further rises possible – the river was expected to reach the same level at Windsor by 3 pm.
Further evacuation alerts were issued for the western Sydney suburbs of Eastern Creek, Stonecutters Creek and Marsden Park, where residents were told to prepare to leave their homes by 3 am.
Residents of parts of Wilberforce north of Hawkesbury were told to be ready to vacate by 9 am.
Severe weather remains in place for much of the NSW coast up to Queensland for life-threatening flash flooding with 137 schools closed and workers forced to stay at home.
Up to 60mm of rain was forecast to flood Sydney after 110mm fell in the space of 24 hours as two weather systems hit, and the NSW State Emergency Service declared western parts of Penrith as a high danger zone where some homes have already been flooded with water.
And an evacuation order was issued for all homes within the area bounded by the Nepean River, south of the Great Western Highway and west of Peach Tree Creek, including Captains Road, Finch Avenue, Ladbury Avenue, Memorial Avenue, Nepean Avenue, and Recreation Avenue.
Residents near the vicinity of Cables Wake Park bounded by the Nepean River, Jamison Road, and Peach Tree Creek were also ordered to evacuate, and the NSW SES alert stated that once floodwater reached 7.96m the Great Western Highway Evacuation Route would be cut.
If residents remained in the region, they might be trapped without power, water and other essential services and it might be too dangerous to rescue them.
Sadly in Sydney, there have been housing estates built that should never have been built, but hopefully, they will all get to safety as quickly as humanly possible because we can’t imagine what they could be facing or have endured so far.