Thousands Of People Evacuated From Homes As Rain Continues To Pummel Parts Of Australia
Thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate from their homes in New South Wales after an almighty storm brought months' worth of rain.
The New South Wales State Emergency Service issued the order last night for people living around Hawkesbury River at North Richmond Lowlands, as well as those in Sydney's west.
People in Bankstown Aerodrome, East Hills, Holsworthy, Milperra, Moorebank, Picnic Point, Pleasure Point and Sandy Point were told to seek higher ground.
This morning, residents in Lake Conjola on the NSW South Coast have also been told to leave. Only a few months ago, people in this area had to pack their bags and leave because of a bushfire threat - now it's due to torrential rain.
EVACUATION WARNING ' #Hawkesbury River at North Richmond Lowlands
The NSW SES is advising residents in North Richmond Lowlands to #prepare to evacuate.
As a result of the flood level predicted by the @BOM_NSW for North Richmond Lowlands Read more https://t.co/t578A4Mkg8 pic.twitter.com/YZ6cV5Dpqn
- NSW SES (@NSWSES) February 9, 2020
The SES said flood water was impacting those areas so badly that evacuation routes were being cut off. The agency warned that anyone who didn't leave would be trapped, and help would take a while to come.
The flooding seen in the Sydney suburb of Narrabeen has beaten the last serious water influx seen in 2016. Narrabeen resident Jacqui Kirk told the Sydney Morning Herald: "Incredible community spirit in flooded areas, neighbours helping push cars and fill sandbags.
"[There's] heavy traffic with people coming to check it all out as well, which has caused problems creating a wake that washes into houses."
Power is out to more than 110,000 customers in Sydney, Newcastle & Central Coast. We've restored power where we can, but the storm has continued to move and damage more of our network.
Crews are working through the night to make these dangerous hazards safe. #SydneyStorm pic.twitter.com/vxWSLXK7jw
- Ausgrid (@Ausgrid) February 9, 2020
The flash flooding has also resulted in dozens of schools to be closed after being inundated with water. A full list of the school closures can be found here.
Hundreds of SES volunteers have been working around the clock to help people affected by the wild weather. They've been called out to more than 10,000 jobs and more continue to pile in as people assess the damage.
Authorities are dismayed at seeing people trying to drive through floodwaters, as they are seriously risking their life and those who have to come and save them.
SES Assistant Commissioner Paul Bailey told the ABC: "It is inherently dangerous to be driving through water.
"There will be areas of water, especially people driving in the Sydney area, driving to work. On those kerbside lanes, there's still lots of water in the areas that hasn't gone away.
"So, we are asking people to be very careful as they drive to work. And this might be one of the days that, if you can work from home, that would be a good way to do it."
More than 200 people have been rescued from flood waters, the majority of whom were attempting to drive through the dangerous conditions.
Public transport in and around Sydney has been thrown into disarray after the rain ruined train lines and made bus travel nearly impossible. However, people in particularly bad areas have been told not to come to work over fears it could cause more issues.
Power companies say at least 150,000 homes and properties remain without power and they're working to fix downed power lines and blown generators.
Featured Image Credit: PA