Thousands of homes without power as rain, wind lash NSW
SYDNEY (Australia) — After a relentless day of heavy rain and extreme winds, the severe storm which battered Australia’s east coast yesterday, continues to cause havoc for residents and commuters in Sydney.
Three people have died in the Australian state of New South Wales as a storm with wind speeds of up to 85 m.p.h. continues to batter the country’s east coast. Police are investigating how the two men and one woman perished, but reports suggest they were trapped in their house in the town of Dungog, north of Sydney, by a flash flood.
Some 215,000 homes in Sydney and across New South Wales have been left without power, and there are reports of damage to lines throughout the network. State-owned electricity supplier Ausgrid say it could take “several days” to repair.
The State Emergency Service (SES) says they’ve already carried out more than 50 flood rescue operations and received around 5000 calls for assistance. “We’re not expecting conditions to ease until Wednesday,” SES spokesperson Stephanie Wills said.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) updated its previous forecast of easing conditions for the greater Sydney region, now predicting heavy rainfall and strong winds will continue overnight. The BoM said it was the wettest day in Sydney since 2002.
Premier Mike Baird has urged Sydney commuters to head home early as wild weather continues to batter the city.
“The weather is forecast to worsen tonight so the SES is encouraging people to head home early while it’s still daylight. Stay safe everyone,” Mr Baird tweeted at 2.20pm today.
With public transport networks disrupted across the city, Transport for NSW has also appealed to motorists and commuters to leave early and be patient during their trip home.
Sydney Observatory Hill had 119.4mm of rain fall between Monday until 9am today, the highest April daily rainfall since 1998.
The highest daily rainfall to hit Sydney was 327.6mm in 1986 which was “from an east coast low, like the situation we have now, so these systems do produce quite significant rainfall in our region,” a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said.
BOM Senior Meteorologist Sean Carson said thunderstorms were set to return for the peak hour rush.
The State Emergency Service said it has received more than 4,500 calls for help and teams have completed 47 flood rescues since the storm hit Monday morning.