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Severe rains to hit Sydney, Australia ramps up flood relief preparations

As the wild weather slowly turns south toward Sydney, military helicopters evacuated stranded individuals from rooftops of flooded communities in eastern Australia, and a tenth victim was discovered on Tuesday following days of severe rain.

The news: The death toll rose to ten after a woman in her 80s was discovered dead inside a flooded home, according to authorities.

  • Floodwaters from the downpour, which began late last week, have flooded many towns and bridges in Queensland and New South Wales, and are spreading south, with heavy rains and possible flash flooding expected in Sydney.
  • According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney, Australia’s largest city and home to more than 5 million people, could receive up to 150 mm (6 inches) of rain in a six-hour period on Tuesday afternoon.
  • Government data shows that the average rainfall in Sydney in March was 138 mm.
Residents remain stranded on rooftops and towns submerged on Tuesday (March 1) after an intense weather system battered Australia’s east coast

What’s going on: Hundreds of people are still stranded in their houses in Lismore, New South Wales, which is experiencing its worst floods on record, with some sleeping on rooftops.

  • According to Mayor Steve Krieg of Channel Seven, nine people are still missing, with 400 rescues still needed.
  • Authorities say over 50 people were rescued after being caught on a bridge overnight as quickly rising waves inundated both ends.
  • For the second year in a row, Australia’s east coast summer has been dominated by the La Nina climate trend, which is often associated with more rainfall.
Tens of thousands were ordered to evacuate as heavy rains smashed Australia’s east coast on Monday, submerging towns and stranding residents on rooftops

What are they saying: “This rather significant weather system … we will see it come into the central coast of Sydney and we are already experiencing elements of that right now,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a media briefing.

  • Premier Dominic Perrottet of New South Wales described the harsh weather as a “one-in-a-thousand-year event,” saying emergency workers carried out over 1,000 rescues across the state after receiving 6,000 pleas for assistance.
  • Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Tuesday that Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, received over 80 per cent of its annual rainfall in the last three days.
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