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Thousands evacuate as Sydney floodwaters approach ROOF height and 200 schools are closed

Thousands in Sydney’s west have been forced out of their homes overnight and eight flood evacuation orders have been issued for the NSW mid-north coast as wild weather and torrential rain continues to lash much of the state’s east. 

Communities along the Hawkesbury River in NSW are bracing for once-in-a-generation flooding that could displace thousands of residents and disrupt utilities for months. 

The BOM expects Monday to bring the worst flooding event to the area northwest of Sydney since November 1961 – 60 years ago.

Floodwaters are expected to rise to major levels on Monday morning and inundate places such as Windsor, Pitt Town, North Richmond, Freemans Reach and Colo.

The Hawkesbury is predicted to reach peaks of up to 15 metres and the SES says homes and properties will be flooded, some up to roof height. 

There were 1,500 urgent calls for help overnight and almost 200 schools across the state will be closed on Monday. 

Houses are threatened by flood waters in Penrith on Monday after the Nepean River burst its banks following a weekend of wild weather

Residents laugh as they ride their bikes through a flooded park on the banks of the Nepean river in Penrith on Sunday

Residents laugh as they ride their bikes through a flooded park on the banks of the Nepean river in Penrith on Sunday 

A woman wears a wet weather jacket as she braces the wild conditions in Penrith, western Sydney, for a Monday morning run

A woman wears a wet weather jacket as she braces the wild conditions in Penrith, western Sydney, for a Monday morning run 

Residents watch fromu00A0the Yandhai Nepean Crossing asu00A0the Nepean River overflows in Penrith on Sunday

Residents watch from the Yandhai Nepean Crossing as the Nepean River overflows in Penrith on Sunday 

A Sydney Train is stopped at a station and surrounded by floodwater following a weekend of wild weather

A Sydney Train is stopped at a station and surrounded by floodwater following a weekend of wild weather

A car is seen submerged in rainwater asu00A0torrential rain continues to lash much of the state's east

A car is seen submerged in rainwater as torrential rain continues to lash much of the state’s east

The Nepean river in Penrith is seen after bursting its banks, peaking at 10 metres overnight on March 22

The Nepean river in Penrith is seen after bursting its banks, peaking at 10 metres overnight on March 22

A new aerial image shows floodwaters on Monday morning. Theu00A0Pacific Highway remains closed in both directions between Glenthorne and Coopernook due to flooding

A new aerial image shows floodwaters on Monday morning. The Pacific Highway remains closed in both directions between Glenthorne and Coopernook due to flooding

Residents in Kempsey were told by the State Emergency Service to evacuate by midnight on Sunday with major flooding possible along the Macleay River at Kempsey and Smithtown Monday morning.

Evacuation orders are now in place for low lying areas of Kempsey, Macksville, Port Macquarie, the lower Macleay, Wauchope and Rawdon Island, Taree and Wingham.

People are being asked to more possessions above the predicted flood height, take pets, essential items, warm clothes, medicines, insurance documents and valuables with them and stay with family or friends, or head to evacuation centres.

Kempsey recorded 173 mm of rain between 9am Sunday to 4am on Monday, and it’s not letting up.

Heavy rain is likely to lead to flash flooding and will remain a serious risk for the Northern Rivers and Mid-North Coast on Monday and Tuesday, The Bureau of Meteorology warned.

Risks remain for the Hunter and Central Tablelands districts, particularly as catchments are already saturated. 

Overnight, emergency workers conducted 150 more flood rescues and responded to 1,500 calls for help, taking the total so far for the weekend so far to more than 10,000.

A semi-submerged child's playground is seen on the banks ofu00A0the flooded Nepean River on Monday morning

A semi-submerged child’s playground is seen on the banks of the flooded Nepean River on Monday morning

Residents are seen observing as the Nepean River overflows in Penrith, western Sydney, on Sunday

Residents are seen observing as the Nepean River overflows in Penrith, western Sydney, on Sunday

Surf Life Saving NSW are seen rescuing residents from floodwater on Sunday

Surf Life Saving NSW are seen rescuing residents from floodwater on Sunday

A woman takes a photo on Monday morning after the Nepean River in Sydney's western suburbs burst its banks

A woman takes a photo on Monday morning after the Nepean River in Sydney’s western suburbs burst its banks

Flood damage is seen on the road in Penrith, western Sydney, after a weekend of wild weather

Flood damage is seen on the road in Penrith, western Sydney, after a weekend of wild weather 

Several western suburbs in the Hawkesbury-Nepean valley have been forced to evacuate as river levels and floodwaters continue to rise

Several western suburbs in the Hawkesbury-Nepean valley have been forced to evacuate as river levels and floodwaters continue to rise 

Hundreds of Penrith residents spent the night in evacuation centres or alternative accommodation after their homes came under threat from floodwater. Pictured are residents wading through a submerged Ladbury Ave in Penrith

Hundreds of Penrith residents spent the night in evacuation centres or alternative accommodation after their homes came under threat from floodwater. Pictured are residents wading through a submerged Ladbury Ave in Penrith

A Bureau of Meteorology map shows the areas of New South Wales advised to brace for heavy rainfall on Monday

A Bureau of Meteorology map shows the areas of New South Wales advised to brace for heavy rainfall on Monday

Streets and front yards of houses were completely submerged by floodwater on the corner of Ladbury Ave in Penrith on Sunday

Streets and front yards of houses were completely submerged by floodwater on the corner of Ladbury Ave in Penrith on Sunday

There are 20 evacuation orders in place running from the Mid-North Coast down to the Illawarra, including Sydney and western Sydney, with more expected to be declared on Monday.

Emergency Services Minister David Elliott said the NSW government was expected to be able to confirm later on Monday the Australian Defence Force would move in to support the SES.

‘That will include logistics, obviously, assistance with making sure we make safe our communities,’ he told Nine.

Mr Elliott said the most critical area was the Mid-North Coast where communities were facing the worst flooding conditions since 1929.

Over NSW 200 schools will be closed on Monday but with the extreme wet weather continuing, decisions will be made hourly on further closures.

‘Safety has to come first,’ Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said Seven. 

New South Wales schools closed due to localised flooding 

Aldaville Public School

Barrington Public School

Beechwood Public School

Bellbrook Public School

Bilpin Public School

Bligh Park Public School

Bobin Public School

Booral Public School

Bowraville Central School

Brewongle Environment Education Centre

Buladelah Central School

Bungwahl Public School

Camden Haven High School

Carool Public School

Castlereagh Public School

Casuarina School

Cattai Public School

Chatham High School

Chatham Public School

Chillingham Public School

Chester Hill High School

Colo Heights Public School

Colo High School

Comboyne Public School

Comleroy Public School

Congewai Public School

Coolongolook Public School

Coopernook Public School

Crescent Head Public School

Cundletown Public School

Dungog High School

Dungog Public School

Durrumbul Public School

Ebenezer Public School

Elands Public School

Eungai Public School

Frederickton Public School

Freemans Reach Public School

Galungara Public School

Gladstone Public School

Glenbrook Public School

Glenorie Public School

Glenvale SSP

North Entrance Campus non-operational

Narara Campus is open

Glossodia Public School

Green Hill Public School

Grose View Public School

Hallidays Point Public School

Hambledon Public School

Hannam Vale Public School

Harrington Public School

Hastings Public School

Hastings Secondary College, Port Macquarie Campus

Hastings Secondary College, Westport Campus

Hawkesbury High School

Herrons Creek Public School

Hillside Public School

Hinton Public School

Hobartville Public School

Hope Town School

Huntingdon Public School

Jiliby Public School

John’s River Public School

Kempsey East Public School

Kempsey High School

Kempsey South Public School

Kempsey West Public School

Kendell Public School

Kinchela Public School

Krambach Public School

Kurrambee School

Kurmond Public School

Kurrajong East Public School

Kurrajong North Public School

Kurrajong Public School

Laguna Public School

Lake Cathue Public School 

Lansdowne Public School 

Laurieton Public School

Leonay Public School

Lisarow High School

Lisarow Public School

Londonderry Public School

Long Flat Public School

Longneck Lagoon Environmental Education Centre

MacDonald Valley Public School 

Manning Gardens Public School

Marylya Public School

Maroota Public School

Marsden Park Public School

Medlow Public School

Megalong Valley Public School

Melville High School

Millers Forrest Public School

Mitchells Island Public School

Moorland Public School

Mount George Public School

Mount Kanwary Public School

Nabiac Public School

Nambucca Heads High School

Narara Valley High School

Nepean Creative and Performing Arts High School

North East Public School of Distance Education

Northbourne Public School

North Haven Public School

Oakville Public School

Old Bar Public School

Orama Public School

Pacific Palms Public School

Penrith Valley School

Pitt Town Public School

Port Macquarie Public School

Quakers Hill Public School

Richmond High School

Richmond North Public School

Richmond Public School

Riverstone High School

Riverstone Public School

Rolland Plains Upper Public School

Schofields Public School

Smithtown Public School

South Creek School (Norree)

South West Rocks Public School

St Marys Public School

St Marys Senior High School

Stratford Public School

Stroud Public School

Stroud Road Public School

Taree High School

Taree Public School

Taree West Public School

Tea Gardens Public School

Telegraph Point Public School

The Pocket Public School

Tinonee Public School

Tuntable Public School

Upper Lansdown Public School

Vineyard Public School

Wallacia Public School

Wauchope High School

Wauchope Public School

Westport Public School

Wilberforce Public School

Willawarrin Public School

Windsor High School

Windsor Park Public School

Windsor Public School

Windsor South Public School

Wingham Brush Public School

Wingham High School

Wingham Public School

Wisemans Ferry Public School

Wooli Public School

Wyndham College

Wyong Creek Public School

 

 

Source: Department of Education New South Wales 

A dead fish is seen on the edge of au00A0semi-submerged children's playgroundu00A0on the banks of the flooded Nepean River

A dead fish is seen on the edge of a semi-submerged children’s playground on the banks of the flooded Nepean River

Children react as they are sprayed by floodwater from passing vehicles on a road near theu00A0Warragamba Dam

Children react as they are sprayed by floodwater from passing vehicles on a road near the Warragamba Dam

A baby is pictured with SES after they saved theu00A0the five-month-old infant, a child, four adults and three dogs inu00A0Londonderry

A baby is pictured with SES after they saved the the five-month-old infant, a child, four adults and three dogs in Londonderry

Rivers will hit their highest levels in 60 years on Monday morning with moderate to major flood warnings issued for the Hawkesbury, the Nepean (pictured), and the Colo, threatening homes in the suburbs of Penrith, North Richmond, Windsor, and Sackville

Rivers will hit their highest levels in 60 years on Monday morning with moderate to major flood warnings issued for the Hawkesbury, the Nepean (pictured), and the Colo, threatening homes in the suburbs of Penrith, North Richmond, Windsor, and Sackville

A 'road closed' sign is displayedu00A0at Trench Reserve in Penrith on Monday, as thousands of residents are fleeing their homes and schools are shut

A ‘road closed’ sign is displayed at Trench Reserve in Penrith on Monday, as thousands of residents are fleeing their homes and schools are shut 

Signs and light posts are submerged underwater on Monday from the flooded Nepean River in Sydney's west

Signs and light posts are submerged underwater on Monday from the flooded Nepean River in Sydney’s west

A 'one way' sign is almost completely underwater following a weekend of wild weather across NSW's east

A ‘one way’ sign is almost completely underwater following a weekend of wild weather across NSW’s east

A dead fish is seen lying on the grass next tou00A0the flooded Nepean River on Monday morning

A dead fish is seen lying on the grass next to the flooded Nepean River on Monday morning

ROAD CLOSURES

SYDNEY 

Windsor Bridge is closed between Macquarie Street and Wilberforce Road at Windsor

Macquarie Street is closed between Brabyn Street and Bell Street at Windsor

North Richmond Bridge is closed on Bells Line of Road between Pitt Lane and Chapel Street at Richmond

Wisemans Ferry Road is closed across the Cattai Creek Bridge at Cattai

Pitt Town Road is closed between Saunders Road and Glebe Road at Pitt Town

Garfield Road West is closed between West Parade and Carnarvon Road at Riverstone

Springwood Road is closed across the Yarramundi Bridge at Yarramundi

Wilberforce Road is closed between Freemans Reach Road and Rose Street at Wilberforce

Castlereagh Road is between Thornton Drive and Jane Street at Penrith

Mulgoa Road is closed between Glenmore Parkway and Water Street between Glenmore Park and Wallacia

Wakehurst Parkway is closed between the Academy of Sport and Oxford Falls Road from North Narrabeen to Oxford Falls

Oxford Falls Road is closed between Wakehurst Parkway and Aroona Road at Oxford Falls

Audley Road at Audley Weir is closed in the Royal National Park

Douglas Park Drive (causeway) is closed at Nepean River between Moreton Park Road and Mitchell Place

Menangle Road is closed over Nepean River at Menangle Park

NORTHERN NSW

The Pacific Highway is closed between George Gibson Drive and Manning River Drive/Old Bar Road from Coopernook to Glenthorne

Manning River Drive is closed over the Manning River Bridge Between Glenthorne and Taree

Oxley Highway is closed between Henry Street at Long Flat and Billabong Drive in Sancrox

Oxley Highway is closed between Walcha to Mount Seaview due to a landslide

Giinagay Way is closed between the Pacific Highway and Edgewater Drive between Macksville and Nambucca Heads

Failford Road is closed between the Pacific Highway and The Lakes Way in Failford

Waterfall Way is closed between Dorrigo Mountain and Thora due to a landslide in Thora

The Bucketts Way is closed due to a landslide between Saxbys Road and Roys Road at Krambah

Lismore Road/Bangalow Road is closed at Binna Burra between Bungalow and Lismore

Golden Highway is closed between Range Road and New England Highway through the Singleton Military Area

Main Road/Cessnock Road is closed between Avery Lane and Russell Street between Cliftleigh and Gillieston Heights

WESTERN NSW

Jenolan Caves Road is closed in both directions between Hartley to Jenolan 

SOUTHERN NSW

Illawarra Highway is closed between Mount Murray Rd and Yellow Rock Rd at Macquarie Pass

Illawarra Highway is closed between Tongarra Road and Croome Lane at Albion Park

The floods will cut off evacuation routes and cause lasting outages to utilities, the SES said as it urged residents to prepare to evacuate.

‘Extensive outages of water, electricity, sewerage, telecommunications and gas are expected to last many weeks or months,’ the SES said.

Flooding along the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers comes after the Warragamba Dam spilled over.

Parts of Penrith and other areas along the Nepean were ordered to evacuate on Sunday as NSW battles devastating floods after days of unabated rain.

Scores of people have already been rescued from floodwaters, while prison inmates have been evacuated and more than 100 schools remain shut.

The BOM’s Agata Imielska said the severity of rainfall in greater Sydney could ease on Monday but the Mid-North Coast would continue to be drenched and inland NSW would be pounded by rain.

The NSW northwest slopes and plains are forecast to receive four times more rain in two days than the entire March monthly average.

The federal government’s natural disaster arrangements have been activated for 18 local government areas across NSW.

Rapid Relief Team members are seen preparing sandbags in Penrith on Sunday, where the Nepean River rose to 10metres

Rapid Relief Team members are seen preparing sandbags in Penrith on Sunday, where the Nepean River rose to 10metres

Warragamba Dam (pictured on Sunday) has began overflowing at the rate of 450 gigalitres a day, which would almost fill most of Sydney Harbour

Warragamba Dam (pictured on Sunday) has began overflowing at the rate of 450 gigalitres a day, which would almost fill most of Sydney Harbour 

Thousands of families face losing their homes and many others spent a sleepless night in evacuation centres as a rain-soaked NSW prepares to be battered for another wave of torrential rain. Port Macquarie is pictured above

Thousands of families face losing their homes and many others spent a sleepless night in evacuation centres as a rain-soaked NSW prepares to be battered for another wave of torrential rain. Port Macquarie is pictured above

NSW TRANSPORT 

Commuters in Greater Sydney are urged to avoid unnecessary travel particularly in flood affected areas.

‘A number of Busways services in the Hawkesbury, Penrith and Blacktown area will not operate today due to flooding,’ the NSW Transport Management Centre on Monday morning.

‘Additionally, buses are replacing trains between Schofields and Richmond on the T1 Western Line due to flooding, however, the buses cannot access Vineyard, Mulgrave, Clarendon and East Richmond stations due to road closures caused by flooding.

‘Buses also continue to replace trains on the Central Coast & Newcastle Line between Newcastle Interchange and Morisset due to severe weather conditions causing flooding at Cockle Creek.

‘As well, buses are replacing trains on the Hunter Line between Newcastle Interchange, Maitland and Dungog or Scone due to severe weather conditions causing flooding.

 

The one-in-one-hundred year storm has also forced spiders into people’s homes to escape rising floodwaters.  

Melanie Williams watched on in horror as thousands of arachnids climbed onto her fence as waters continued to rise at her Macksville home, in northern NSW, on Saturday.

‘As the water was rising, the letterbox was going under further and further and I could see all these little black things on there and I thought ‘oh my God, they’re spiders,’ she said. 

‘I occasionally see spiders around the place but never anything like that, it was just insane.’

Floodwaters in Sydney’s west will continue rising on Monday as Warragamba Dam, the city’s biggest, spills enough water to fill Sydney Harbour every 24 hours for a third day in a row, causing swollen rivers to burst their banks.

Those rivers will hit their highest levels in 60 years on Monday morning with moderate to major flood warnings issued for the Hawkesbury, the Nepean, and the Colo, threatening homes in the suburbs of Penrith, North Richmond, Windsor, and Sackville.

The wild weather is not forecast to stop until Wednesday around Sydney and on the mid-north coast, and not until Thursday on the north coast in Byron Bay and south-east Queensland. 

Penrith residents were forced to evacuate on Sunday after the Nepean River rose to 10.05m on Sunday night, just below the major flood level – but higher than during the devastating 1961 floods.

The Nepean River at Menangle Bridge is at 7.28m and 7.73m at Wallacia Weir, with rises possible with forecast rainfall. Major flooding is also occurring around the Colo River in Upper Colo and Putty Road Bridge. 

‘While major flooding is occurring in Sydney’s west it’s also important to be aware this is a large and widespread event,’ the weather bureau warned.

Melanie Williams watched on in horror as thousands of arachnids climbed onto her fence as waters continued to rise at her Macksville home, in northern NSW, on Saturday

Melanie Williams watched on in horror as thousands of arachnids climbed onto her fence as waters continued to rise at her Macksville home, in northern NSW, on Saturday

EVACUATION ORDERS AND WARNINGS FOR WESTERN SYDNEY

EVACUATION WARNINGS 

Eastern Creek at Eastern part of Eastern Creek: Prepare to evacuate before 3am Monday

–  The warning area covers all properties in the Riverstone, Schofields, and Quakers Hill areas bounded by Eastern Creek (from Bandon Road down to Richmond Road), Bandon Road, Hamilton Street, McCulloch Street, Riverstone Road, Garfield Road East, Windsor Road, Schofield Road, Hambledon Road, across to the railway line, and down to Arnott Road, Quakers Road, Breakfast Road and Richmond Road.

Eastern Creek at Colebee and Stonecutters Ridge area bordering Eastern Creek: Prepare to evacuate by 3am Monday

–  The warning area covers all properties in the area of Colebee and Stonecutter Ridge developments bounded by Richmond Road, Bells Creek and Eastern Creek.

Marsden Park at Western part of Eastern Creek: Prepare to evacuate by 3am Monday

– The warning area covers all properties in the area of Marsden Park bounded by Richmond Road, South Creek, Eastern Creek and Bells Creek.

McGraths Hill area: Prepare to evacuate by 9am Monday

–  The warning area covers all properties east of Windsor Road from South Creek to Brennan Dam Road, north of Killarney Chain of Ponds, west of McKenzies Creek. Includes the whole of McGraths Hill suburb.

Southern part of Wilberforce: Prepare to evacuate by 9am Monday

–  The warning area covers all properties north of the Hawkesbury River, west of Buttsworth Lane, Earl Street and Putty Road to Currency Creek, south of Currency Creek to Argents Road (west of the intersection of Argents Rd and Sargents Road).

Windsor CBD: Prepare to evacuate by 9am Monday

–  The warning area covers all properties bounded by the Hawkesbury River, Palmer Street, South Creek, Suffolk Street and New Street.

Hawkesbury River at Eastern part of South Windsor: Prepare to evacuate before 9am Monday

–  The warning area covers all properties bounded by the train line, South Creek and Brickfield Road to the creek.

Caravan Parks along the Hawkesbury River from Windsor and Wisemans Ferry: Prepare to evacuate over the next 12-15 hours

–  The warning area covers all Caravan Parks along the Hawkesbury River from Windsor and Wisemans Ferry. 

EVACUATION ORDERS

Western part of Jamisontown area: Evacuate by 9pm Sunday

– People within Western part of Jamisontown to evacuate the high danger area using the Great Western Highway Evacuation Route.

The evacuation is for all properties within the area of all properties bounded by Jamison road, Surveyors Creek, Blaikie Road, Rear of Penrith Homemaker Centre, Western Motorway and Nepean River.

Residents of Regentville along the low lying parts of Mulgoa Creek: Evacuate by 9pm Sunday

– People along Martin Street between Mulgoa Creek and the Nepean River of area to evacuate the high danger area using the Mulgoa Road Evacuation Route.

The evacuation is for all properties along Martin Street between Mulgoa Creek and the Nepean River. 

Residents within Western parts of Penrith: Evacuate by 4:30pm Sunday

– People within the Western parts of Penrith to evacuate the high danger area using the Memorial Avenue onto the Great western highway onto Victoria Bridge towards Emu Plains. Water is already entering the rear of properties along Ladbury Avenue.

The evacuation is for all properties within the area bounded by the Nepean River, south of the Great Western Highway and west of Peach Tree Creek. Includes: Captains Road; Fitch Avenue; Ladbury Avenue; Memorial Avenue; Nepean Avenue; and Recreation Avenue.

 

Simple things you can do now:

Take pets, essential items, warm clothes, medicines, insurance documents and valuables with you.

Leave as early as possible to avoid restricted road access.

Take drinking water and food due to expected travel time.

Share this information with family, friends and neighbours and help others where possible.

Critical Information to remember 

Never drive, ride or walk through floodwater.

Stack possessions, records, stock or equipment on benches and tables, placing electrical items on top.

Secure objects that are likely to float and cause damage.

Relocate waste containers, chemicals and poisons well above floor level.

Activate your Home or Business FloodSafe Plan.

Keep listening to your local radio station for information, updates and advice.

Keep in contact with your neighbours.

Be prepared to evacuate if advised by emergency services.

Act early as roads may become congested or close.

More information at SES.

A police car was inundated in floodwaters in Freemans Reach in Sydney's north-west on Sunday

A police car was inundated in floodwaters in Freemans Reach in Sydney’s north-west on Sunday

Many residents in Penrith were ordered to evacuate their homes on Sunday night as flood waters in the Nepean River continue to rise. Pictured is a flooded park near the Nepean River on Sunday

Many residents in Penrith were ordered to evacuate their homes on Sunday night as flood waters in the Nepean River continue to rise. Pictured is a flooded park near the Nepean River on Sunday 

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, Hunter, Upper Western and parts of Central Tablelands, North West Slopes and Plains and Central West Slopes and Plains Forecast Districts

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, Hunter, Upper Western and parts of Central Tablelands, North West Slopes and Plains and Central West Slopes and Plains Forecast Districts

With the damage bill already estimated to exceed $1 billion, much of NSW will cop a similar battering in the next two days with conditions described as dangerous and volatile. Taree Aquatic Club on the Mid North Coast is pictured above

With the damage bill already estimated to exceed $1 billion, much of NSW will cop a similar battering in the next two days with conditions described as dangerous and volatile. Taree Aquatic Club on the Mid North Coast is pictured above 

With the damage bill already estimated to exceed $1billion, much of NSW will cop a similar battering in the next two days with conditions described as dangerous and volatile.

More than 1,500 residents across NSW were evacuated due to life-threatening floods on Sunday while a further 4,000 along the banks of the Nepean River were advised to prepare to leave.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, Hunter, Upper Western and parts of Central Tablelands, North West Slopes and Plains and Central West Slopes and Plains Forecast Districts. 

Heavy rain will likely lead to flash flooding in the NSW Northern Rivers and mid north coast on Monday. 

Affected areas may include Coffs Harbour, Kempsey, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, Gosford, Sydney, Katoomba, Wollongong, Tibooburra, Bourke, Cobar and Coonamble.

‘While major flooding is occurring in Sydney’s west it’s also important to be aware this is a large & widespread event. Western NSW will see increased rain from Monday & many areas will see more rain on Tuesday,’ the Bureau of Meteorology tweeted.

DISASTER RELIEF PAYMENTS FOR FLOOD-HIT FAMILIES

Residents who have suffered home damage or serious injuries in devastating floods sweeping across NSW are being granted immediate access to disaster relief payments.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday announced the activation of the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment and Disaster Recovery Allowance for 18 NSW local government areas.

Under the AGDRP, eligible residents caught up in the storms and floods can apply for a one-off payment of $1,000 for adults and $400 for children.

Those who have lost their livelihoods can also now get a short-term income payment through the DRA for up to 13 weeks.

Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the disaster package would help people who had suffered significant loss.

‘Our first concern is for the safety and needs of those directly affected, particularly those whose homes have been inundated by floodwaters,’ he said in a statement.

‘By making these payments available to the affected residents, the Australian government will ensure that those who have lost or sustained damage to their homes or lost their livelihoods as a result of the floods will have the additional assistance they need.’

In a social media video on Sunday, the prime minister advised flood-impacted residents to claim the relief payments by calling Services Australia on 180 22 66.

‘It can be processed over the phone, you just need to provide your details and explain your circumstances to them, and we can arrange those payments to you as quickly as possible,’ Mr Morrison said.

The package has initially been extended to Armidale, Bellingen, Central Coast, Cessnock City, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Dungog, Hawkesbury, Kempsey, Lake Macquarie, Maitland City, Mid-Coast, Nambucca Valley, Newcastle City, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Penrith, Port Stephens and Tenterfield.

More LGAs will be added to the list in consultation with the NSW government, while mutual obligation requirements for job seeker’s in the 18 regions have been lifted from March 19 until April 6.

The prime minister has been in contact with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday to offer the support of the Australian Defence Force.

Mr Morrison acknowledged the need for a ‘big clean-up operation’ on the other side of the floods, the worst to hit metropolitan Sydney in 50 years and the Mid-North Coast in a century.

But he indicated the recovery effort was a problem for another day, urging people to stay safe and listen to authorities.

‘They trained for this, they prepare for this, and they’re there to help you right now,’ Mr Morrison said.

‘I wish you every safety in these very trying times.’

Greens Leader Adam Bandt described the ‘tragic’ weather event as a grim look into an Australian future with bigger fires and worse floods, calling on the federal government to declare a climate emergency.

”Unprecedented’ fires one year, ‘once in a 50 year’ floods the next. This is not normal,’ Mr Bandt said in a statement.

 

Incredible satellite images show the devastating caused by the floods. This shows the Manning River near Taree on the NSW mid-north coast before the storm

Incredible satellite images show the devastating caused by the floods. This shows the Manning River near Taree on the NSW mid-north coast before the storm

This floods spreading across the area as days of torrential rain cause rivers to burst their banks and destroy homes

This floods spreading across the area as days of torrential rain cause rivers to burst their banks and destroy homes

Rivers on the north and mid-north coast that were once just thin lines on the map (pictured) were turned into thick raging torrents as the excess water spilled across the countryside

Rivers on the north and mid-north coast that were once just thin lines on the map (pictured) were turned into thick raging torrents as the excess water spilled across the countryside

Water spreads across basins on either side of the Hastings River near Port Macquarie, covering several times more area than usual

Water spreads across basins on either side of the Hastings River near Port Macquarie, covering several times more area than usual

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian held an emergency conference on Sunday to beg residents to play it safe and reiterate how 'serious and severe this weather is'

State Premier Gladys Berejiklian held an emergency conference on Sunday to beg residents to play it safe and reiterate how ‘serious and severe this weather is’

Port Macquarie residents have been warned a ‘second wave’ of major flooding is on its way and say ‘we’re not out of the woods yet’.

Incredible satellite images have captured transformation widespread flooding has already caused in Port Macquarie and Taree as new alerts were issued for the Hastings and Manning Rivers on Sunday night.

Regions south of Sydney will also cop a drenching where Goulburn faces potential flooding as water spills continues to spill  from Warragamba Dam and flows down the Nepean River. 

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jonathan How said ‘relentless rainfall’ will lash parts of Sydney and eastern NSW until at least Tuesday. 

‘This is a dynamic situation, so check for flood warning updates regularly,’ he warned. 

Rain is forecast to persist through Monday as a stubborn coastal trough lingers over NSW, and severe thunderstorms are also likely to hit northern inland NSW.

The two weather systems will ‘collide’ on Monday night, Mr How said, causing a likely ‘multi-state rain band’.   

The NSW north coast is also bracing for more heavy rain just days after towns were cut off by floodwaters. This photou00A0shows a flooded area following heavy rains in Port Macquarie

The NSW north coast is also bracing for more heavy rain just days after towns were cut off by floodwaters. This photo shows a flooded area following heavy rains in Port Macquarie

Sandbags are seen lining shops in Picton in Sydney. Evacuation warnings are in place for parts of Western Sydney as floodwaters continue to rise

Sandbags are seen lining shops in Picton in Sydney. Evacuation warnings are in place for parts of Western Sydney as floodwaters continue to rise

Rising floodwaters in Sydney’s west and north-west are now higher than the catastrophic 1961 flood, with residents of parts of Penrith told to leave their homes by 9pm before floods are expected to peak early Monday. 

Further evacuation warnings 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 3am.

Residents of parts of Wilberforce north of the Hawkesbury were told to be ready to evacuate by 9am on Monday. 

The catastrophic November 1961 floods occurred soon after Warragamba Dam was built, where the Hawkesbury River reached around 14.5m above normal river height at Windsor.

But the largest flood since European settlement was in June 1867 where the river reached 19m above normal river height.

A severe weather remains in place for much of the NSW coast all the way up to Queensland for life-threatening flash-flooding with 137 schools closed and workers urged to stay home on Monday. 

By 4.30pm on Sunday, floodwaters had started to inundate homes inu00A0Ladbury Avenue Penrith (pictured)

By 4.30pm on Sunday, floodwaters had started to inundate homes in Ladbury Avenue Penrith (pictured)

An abandoned umbrella lies at the flood intersection of Ladbury and Memorial Avenue in Penrith in Sydney's west

An abandoned umbrella lies at the flood intersection of Ladbury and Memorial Avenue in Penrith in Sydney’s west

A large crowd of residents gathered at the new Windsor Bridge on Sunday to keep a vigilant eye on the Hawkesbury River

A large crowd of residents gathered at the new Windsor Bridge on Sunday to keep a vigilant eye on the Hawkesbury River

Windsor residents in Sydney's north-west braved the wet conditions to keep a close eye on the flooded Hawkesbury River

Windsor residents in Sydney’s north-west braved the wet conditions to keep a close eye on the flooded Hawkesbury River

Late on Sunday afternoon, the NSW State Emergency Service declared western parts of Penrith as a high danger area where some properties have already been inundated with water. 

Evacuees were urged to bring drinking water and food with them and relocate personal possessions to a safe place. The Nepean River is expected to peak around 10.4m at midnight on Monday.

Penrith Panthers NRL coach Ivan Cleary was among the residents forced to evacuate on Sunday night.

He has been living in a Ladbury Avenue home owned by his son, Panthers halfback Nathan Cleary while renovating his own home on Sydney’s northern beaches, the Daily Telegraph reported. 

The Panthers’ preparation for Thursday night’s grand final rematch against Melbourne Storm was also thrown into chaos with their training grounds at the $22m Panthers Academy complex in Mulgoa under threat from flooding.

Inmates at the Emu Plains and nearby Amber Laurel Correctional Centres have also being evacuated, Corrective Services has confirmed. 

Residents in western parts of Penrith were ordered to evacuate by SES volunteersu00A0 on Sunday afternoon before flood levels rise. Pictured are residents inu00A0Ladbury Ave, Penrith.

Residents in western parts of Penrith were ordered to evacuate by SES volunteers  on Sunday afternoon before flood levels rise. Pictured are residents in Ladbury Ave, Penrith.

The corner of Ladbury and Memorial Ave Penrith (pictured) is now underwater, forcing local residents to evacuate

The corner of Ladbury and Memorial Ave Penrith (pictured) is now underwater, forcing local residents to evacuate

The rain will persist on Monday while severe thunderstorms are forecast for northern inland NSW.

A  tropical low over northern WA and a coastal trough off NSW are expected to collide on Monday night, sparking a ‘multi-state rain band’. 

‘This could cause further river rises, so it’s important to stay vigilant as conditions can change quickly,’ Mr How said.

‘Rain and floods are not over yet!’ 

Of the 7,370 calls for help the NSW State Emergency Service has been inundated with since Thursday, 1940 have been logged since Saturday night. 

The SES has also conducted 685 flood rescues since Thursday. 

Rising flood waters opposite Governor Phillip Park in Windsor are so high they have almost covered a traffic sign

Rising flood waters opposite Governor Phillip Park in Windsor are so high they have almost covered a traffic sign

People look on as flood water rises over the New Windsor Bridge on The Hawkesbury River in Windsor

People look on as flood water rises over the New Windsor Bridge on The Hawkesbury River in Windsor

Low-lying areas of Windsor near the Hawkesbury River have been inundated with heavy rain in recent days

Low-lying areas of Windsor near the Hawkesbury River have been inundated with heavy rain in recent days

The new Windsor Bridge was inundated with with water and debris from the flooded Hawkesbury River on Sunday

The new Windsor Bridge was inundated with with water and debris from the flooded Hawkesbury River on Sunday

In the far NSW north coast, the heavy rain and wild conditions didn't dampen the spirits of surfers at Byron Bay

In the far NSW north coast, the heavy rain and wild conditions didn’t dampen the spirits of surfers at Byron Bay

Heavy rainfall also arrived in Byron Bay on Sunday afternoon, washing away roads and wreaking havoc on the coastal town

Heavy rainfall also arrived in Byron Bay on Sunday afternoon, washing away roads and wreaking havoc on the coastal town

Premier Gladys Berejiklian held an emergency conference on Sunday to beg residents to play it safe and reiterate how ‘serious and severe this weather is’.

Natural disaster declared in the following regions:

 Armidale

Bellingen

Central Coast

Cessnock City Council

Clarence Valley

Coffs Harbour City

Dungog Shire

Kempsey

Lake Macquarie City

Maitland City

Mid-Coast

Nambucca Valley

Newcastle City

Port Macquarie-Hastings

Port Stephens

Tenterfield

She said the NSW mid-north coast, which was worst hit on Saturday and overnight, was enduring a once-in-a-century storm, while regions in western Sydney haven’t seen rainfall this severe in 50 years. 

‘We were hoping it would only be a one in 20-year event. It looks like it will actually be a one in 50-year event,’ Ms Berejiklian said of conditions in the Hawkesbury Valley on Sunday.   

On Sunday, the Department of Education announced 137 public schools would close on Monday due to localised flooding. Parents with children at Catholic or private schools will be notified separately if their campus had been impacted.

‘It’s the sustained rainfall, the fact that weather event has settled in, it’s not moving,’ she said. 

‘We cannot underestimate the ferocity of these weather conditions. We have gone from extreme bushfire to extreme flood.’

Employees were encouraged to work from home in an attempt to curb any unnecessary road travel and avoid an ‘inevitable fatality’.

The federal and state governments on Sunday morning announced 16 national disaster declarations from Coffs Harbour and Grafton areas in northern NSW into the west to Cessnock and Dungog, and to the Central Coast. 

The regions include Bellingen, Clarence Valley, Kempsey, Lake Macquarie City, Nambucca Valley, Port Macquarie-Hastings and Tenterfield. 

Relief funding can now start to be funnelled into local council areas for recovery efforts from the catastrophic rainfall. 

Queensland, South Australia and Victoria have all deployed resources to New South Wales to help crews already on the ground.  

Houses are destroyed after flooding following heavy rainfall in Tinonee, New South Wales

Houses are destroyed after flooding following heavy rainfall in Tinonee, New South Wales

A house is seen after a landslip took out some of its foundations, forcing the road to be closed on Shortland esplanade in Newcastle on Sunday

A house is seen after a landslip took out some of its foundations, forcing the road to be closed on Shortland esplanade in Newcastle on Sunday


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