Thousands are told to evacuate Sydney, Australia after heavy rains

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Thousands of residents were forced to evacuate southwest Sydney, Australia’s largest city, on Sunday, as torrential rains and damaging winds battered the east coast and threatened flooding in areas that were hit in March.

The weather department has warned of heavy rain that could lead to flooding and landslides along the east coast region from Newcastle to Bateman’s Bay in the state of New South Wales, with rain expected to intensify over the next two days.

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“We are now facing dangers on multiple fronts – flash floods, riverine flooding and coastal erosion,” New South Wales Minister of Emergency Services Steph Cooke told a televised news conference.

She urged people to reconsider vacation travel, with bad weather at the start of school holidays.

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“This is a life-threatening emergency situation,” Cooke said.

More than 200 millimeters of rain fell in many areas, with some reaching as much as 350 millimeters, the Bureau of Meteorology said, warning of flood risks along the Nepean River.

Heavy rains caused Sydney’s main dam to spill overnight, water officials said, adding that modeling showed the leak would be comparable to a large leak in March 2021 at the Warragamba dam.

A local takes a picture of a flood-flooded road in Camden, southwest of Sydney, Sunday, July 3, 2022.

“There is no space for water to remain in the dams. They are starting to leak. The rivers are flowing very fast and very dangerous. And then we have the risk of flash floods, depending on where the rains are,” said the State Emergency Service said Commissioner Carlene York.

On the final day, 29 people were rescued from the floodwaters, including one who had been hanging from a pole for an hour as workers struggled to reach them.

The Australian government has provided the state with 100 soldiers who are helping with sandbags and two helicopters to help with any rescue, Defense Minister Richard Marles told Sky News.

Source: CNN Brasil

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