When torrential rain is going to stop
Emergency evacuations, rivers running down roads and a BOM radar resembling a Jackson Pollock art piece have all put one question to millions of our lips: when is this damn rain going to stop?
Weather officials have issued a severe weather warning for the Hunter, Metropolitan, Illawarra and parts of Mid North Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, Snowy Mountains and ACT regions of Eastern Australia. Low-lying areas in a number of towns have been given evacuation notices including Lower Macleay, North Haven, Dunbogan, Laurieton, Wingham, Port Macquarie, Cundletown, Taree and Dungog.
Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino issued a warning for "major flooding" in western Sydney with the torrential downpour inundating rivers across the state. Mr Domensino released a radar image detailing the next 24 hours of rainfall, with the Blue Mountains and the catchment that feeds Warragamba Dam expecting to be the hardest hit with over 300mm expected.
BOM flood operations manager Justin Robinson said residents were "likely to see spill from Warragamba Dam that then will impact those communities downstream" and that "significant" flash flooding for both the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers was likely.
Weatherzone has predicted at least another five days of heavy rain for the Sydney region as "moisture-laden easterly winds from the Mid North Coast feed into a coastal trough" following Kempsey's "astonishing" 407.4mm of rain over the past 72 hours. The Mid North Coast town broke its record for the wettest day in March with the monthly total hitting a whopping 488mm this weekend.
Residents in the state's north can expect a slight ease-off after their biblical end to the week with the bulk of the rain moving south.
"This rainfall is now shifting southward and intensifying across the Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney regions this morning, while easing further north," announced a Saturday morning update. "Widespread falls of 60-100mm will be possible on Saturday across parts of eastern NSW south of about Taree, extending all the way to Wollongong and the Illawarra."
Sydney can expect heavy rain up until Wednesday, where the estimates drop from 20-40mm per day to 1-5mm, however the entire remainder of next week is still forecast for a 70 per cent chance of rain per day as the weather slightly heats up to 29 degrees on hump day.
FLASH FLOODING HITS NSW
Rural tourist town Bellingen is one of the many locations being tested by the downfall, with the population being separated by floodwaters rising over the town's main bridge.
SES crews have been called to over 57 flood rescues with more than 1300 calls for help throughout the recent weather period.
NSW emergency services have set up a number of emergency evacuation centres for residents told to leave their homes as dangerous conditions cause flooding throughout parts of NSW.
A picture of Port Macquarie locals staying loyal to their local, sinking tins in waist-high water, caught the eye of thousands as the coastal town faced mass evacuations from low-lying areas.
Evacuation centres have been set up at the following locations:
- Wingham Golf Club, 30/32 Country Club Drive, Wingham
- Taree RSL and Golf Club, 121 Wingham Road, Taree
- The Laurieton United Services Club, 2 Seymour Street, Laurieton
-Kempsey Showground, 19 Sea Street, West Kempsey
- Port Panthers, 1 Bay Street, Port Macquarie (access via Bago Road only)
- Bulahdelah Central School, 8 Meade Street (Church Street)
- Auditorium at Macksville High School, 40 Boundary Street, Macksville (access via Park Street)
- South West Rocks Country Club, 2 Sportmans Way, South West Rocks
For rolling coverage of the weather for all the latest warnings and updates, head to our live blog.
Originally published as When torrential rain is going to stop
This image shows how much rain one model is predicting between Saturday morning and Sunday evening. While all of Sydney will be wet, the heaviest rain will hit the Blue Mountains and the catchment that feeds Warragamba Dam. These areas could see over 300mm this weekend.— Ben Domensino (@Ben_Domensino) March 20, 2021