Sydney commuters are facing a wet trip home this afternoon as wet weather causes minor flooding.
It comes as the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and possibly life-threatening flash flooding and damaging winds for the NSW Mid North Coast and parts of Northern Rivers, Hunter and Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts.
Flood warnings have also been issued for Queensland’s Warrego River, Maranoa and Upper Balonne Rivers, Paroo River, Diamantina River, Bulloo River, and central and southern interior.
Residents of NSW are being told to “reconsider travelling” this weekend as an “intense” rain event bears down on the coast.
Flash flooding is a possibility not just in regional areas but in Sydney as well as up to 300mm of rain is predicted in some parts. One of the largest dams serving the city could spill, which could lead to minor flooding in downstream communities.
Commuters at the inner west station of Lewisham in Sydney were forced to climb over railings to avoid flooding on Thursday evening.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has said there is a double whammy of rain dangers: already sodden soils that can’t absorb any more rain and persistent drizzle interspersed with localised heavy downpours that could see twice the mount of rain of areas close by.
“Those two factors combined: the wet soils and very heavy rainfall, can change from what may seem as inconveniently wet conditions to dangerously wet conditions,” said BOM metrologist Agata Imielska on Thursday afternoon.
In total the BOM has said people living along a 900km stretch of coast, from Byron Bay to Wollongong, should be aware of the dangers.
SYDNEY DAM COULD SPILL
The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) has 4500 volunteers in Sydney alone on standby to deal with the deluge. A further 2000 are ready in northern NSW which is expected to bear the brunt of the system on Thursday and Friday.
There are flood warnings in place for multiple NSW rivers including the Nepean, Hawkesbury and Georges.
Already, some communities have seen their wettest March for two years and forecasters have warned that “many months of rain could fall” in the coming days.
Coonamble, in central NSW, and Yeppoon, near Rockhampton in Queensland, both saw their heaviest March rainfall in two years
A severe weather warning for heavy and “intense” rain and flash flooding is in place for the NSW coast.
Rain is likely just about anywhere along the east coast from Queensland to the Victorian border today.
On Thursday, the heaviest falls are likely in the Capricornia region on Queensland and northern NSW and the mid north coast.
As we head into Friday that moisture monster edges down towards the Hunter and Sydney.
At the same time heavy falls can also be expected in inland areas, including the outback, in a line form the Northern Territory down to northern South Australia.
Sky News Weather meteorologist Alison Osborne said it was “an absolute deluge”.
“There is some uncertainty about where the heaviest falls will be this weekend. There is a risk of that flooding reaching Sydney and the rain spreading into northern and eastern parts of Victoria.”
“With 150-300mm forecast in the northern half of NSW for some that will be almost a month’s worth of rain in just a few days. In the outback (where less rain falls) there could be many months’ worth of rain in the next few days.”
Dams in the Greater Sydney region are currently 93.3 per cent full with Warragamba, the largest serving the city, at 96.4 per cent capacity.
The BOM said it was a “possibility” the Warragamba Dam could spill, which could lead to minor flooding along the Nepean but it was unlikely to itself cause major flooding.
‘DO NOT TRAVEL’
Sydney zone commander for the NSW SES, Greg Swindells, warned people should think again about road trips, which could see them faced with floodwaters at a moment’s notice.
Holiday spots like Port Macquarie are set to some of the heaviest hit with up to 120mm forecast to fall on Friday alone.
We also urge anybody who’s considering travelling this weekend and into early next week to perhaps reconsider that travel if it’s not required and to put it off and stay home.
“Doesn’t matter how experienced you are as a driver or how big your vehicle may be, we can’t guarantee the integrity of floodwaters on road surfaces so please if it’s flooded forget it,” said Mr Swindells.
This rain is being caused by a strong high pressure system to the east of Tasmania.
Winds blow anticlockwise around highs and as a result very humid moisture from the Tasman and Coral seas is being pumped into a trough line over the east.
Downpours are almost a certainty every day in Sydney with particularly high falls from Thursday to Saturday. Up to 80mm could descend on Friday and 100mm on Saturday.
Brisbane will be wet too, but not quite as dramatic. Around 25mm could come down on Saturday and 15mm on Sunday. Expect showers on Thursday and Friday too.
There will be some rain in Canberra over the next few days but it could get heavy from Saturday when 20mm may fall on the capital with 10mm the next day.
Northern Australia is also looking like it will get some decent falls of between 25-50mm.
In Darwin, during warm 32C week, totals of 10mm will be usual. West of Darwin along the coast into WA, towards Kununurra, heavier downpours are forecast.
However, in much of the rest of Western Australia, heat is the main play. Perth will top out a 32C today but its set to rise to a sunny 38C by Friday as a heatwave kicks in.
It will be mostly sunny in Adelaide with highs touching 30C. Very little rain should reach populated areas of South Australia until Monday.
Similarly, Melbourne should remain mostly dry into the weekend but cloudy with maximums of around 25C. However, some heavier falls are on the radar for early next week.
Some sun between the clouds in Hobart with highs in the mid-twenties but umbrellas will likely not be needed
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