Millions of residents are on alert and some low lying areas of New South Wales have been warned to evacuate by 8pm on Friday night as torrential rain and flooding batter Australia’s east coast.
The State Emergency Service said dangerous flooding is unfolding in several areas of the mid-north coast including Port Macquarie, North Haven, Laurieton, Camden Head, and Dunbogan.
Severe weather warnings have also been extended to Sydney, Illawarra, and the Blue Mountains regions with heavy rains, damaging winds and wild surf expected.
A huge weather system is battering Australia’s east coast with flash flooding and damaging winds expected into Saturday (pictured: a collapsed highway due to floodwater on Foreshore Drive in Corlette, NSW)
Surfers in Lennox Head northern NSW brave the wild weather and huge swells on Friday for a wave (pictured)
Sydney Light Rail broke down on Friday with commuters forced to walk in the rain (pictured)
The Bureau of Meteorology forecasts the intense weather system will continue with areas between Kempsey and Bulahdelah copping the brunt on Friday night.
The system will then travel south on Saturday with Newcastle to the Illawarra being drenched including Sydney and west to the Blue Mountains.
Authorities warn flash-flooding could be ‘life threatening’ with roads likely cut-off by the floodwaters and an increased risk of landslips.
Two thirds of the country is expected to receive a drenching over the next 48 hours including Australia’s red centre.
A 600mm rain dump predicted for some areas as meteorologists warn to expect ‘an absolute deluge’ as the 1,200km-long weather system moves gradually southwards towards the Harbour City.
‘Intense rainfall which may lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding may develop over the Mid North Coast and parts of the Hunter,’ the Bureau of Meteorology warned on Friday morning.
One tram broke down inside a Sydney tunnel with people have to wade through water to get outside (pictured)
Flash flooding is battering some parts of NSW (pictured) as a huge weather system moves slowly south towards Sydney
Up to 600mm of rain could fall in Coffs Harbour over the next 36 hours during the wild weather event.
Meteorologist Agata Imielska from the bureau said the rain was set to be ‘substantially heavier’ on Saturday in Sydney.
‘We are expecting widespread totals for the Greater Sydney area of around 100 millimeters.’
‘This will be the difference of potentially what will seem like maybe inconvenient rain to actually something that might be quite dangerous, and threatening,’ she said.
‘It’s really important for Sydneysiders to be mindful about reconsidering their plans due to potential changes to driving conditions.’
Up to 600mm of rain could fall in Coffs Harbour over the next 36 hours amid the wild weather event
Sydney could see 50mm fall on Friday, before 120mm is dumped on the Harbour City on Saturday. Pictured: A cyclist rides through rain in the Sydney CBD
Commuters heading into the city on Friday morning were met with flooding at Lewisham station, in Sydney’s inner west, as rain water soaked the entrance.
The morning commute was thrown into disarray thanks to the weather event.
Buses are replacing metro services between Castle Hill and Tallawong due to a fallen overhead cable.
On Thursday night, Sydneysiders were forced to walk through the Moore Park tunnel after the light rail they were travelling on broke down.
Sydney could see 50mm fall on Friday, before 120mm is dumped on the Harbour City on Saturday.
Overnight on Thursday, up to 100mm of rain fell across the regions sparking hundreds of call for help.
In the past 24 hours, SES crews have undertaken 11 flood rescues, three of which were in western Sydney.
Dubbo recorded its wettest day in four years as 65mm hit the regional city.
More heavy rain, thunderstorms and damaging winds are forecast on Friday and into the weekend, heightening the risk of flash flooding and hazardous surf and heavy swells.
Flood watch alerts have been issued for the mid-north coast, Hunter, Central Coast, Sydney metro and Illawarra coast and far west regions areas.
The biggest risk is on the mid-north coast where the Orara, Bellinger and Hastings rivers are being closely watched ahead of expected minor to moderate flooding on Friday.
The Georges, Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers in the Sydney region are also expected to be affected.
Emergency services have warned conditions will remain dangerous and are telling motorists to take ‘extreme care’ around flood warning areas.
The deluge is set to continue well into next week and could deliver the heaviest rainfall since February 2020, when Greater Sydney was hit.
The mid-north coast copped the worst of the conditions on Thursday, as a low-pressure system continued to move south to the Hunter, Illawarra and Sydney.
Catchments are already soaked but it won’t take much more for flooding to occur, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Agata Imielska said.
‘It’s the difference between being inconveniently wet to conditions drastically changing to being dangerously wet,’ the meteorologist said.
The bureau said the low-pressure system was a ‘significant system’ bringing peak gusts of more than 90km/h.
The bureau has warned the ‘intense rainfall’ may lead to ‘life-threatening flash flooding’
Forecasters say more than 100mm of rain is expected to fall in a short period of time in some regions.
‘We’re very concerned about the potential for flooding along the coastal rivers from the mid-north coast down to Sydney,’ bureau flood operations manager Justin Robinson said.
Towns likely to be affected include Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Woolgoolga, Sawtell, Bellingen and Dorrigo.
Sky News Weather meteorologist Alison Osborne said there is some uncertainty about where the heaviest falls will be this weekend.
‘There is a risk of that flooding reaching Sydney and the rain spreading into northern and eastern parts of Victoria,’ she said.
She added there could be months’ worth of rain in outback NSW in the next few days, where a separate band of rain is moving eastwards from Western Australia.
Sydneysiders have been warned their city could be hit by flooding this weekend as a second band of heavy rainfall lashes the east coast
A severe weather warning is in place for the New South Wales mid-north coast where as much as 300mm is expected to fall in the next three days. Pictured: Freshwater Beach on Thursday
‘In the outback [where there is less rainfall] there could be many months worth of rain in the next few days,’ she said.
BoM meteorologist Helen Kirkup on Thursday morning told Daily Mail Australia that weather system could bring about 60mm of rain to inland areas.
Ms Kirkup said parts of Sydney could receive 120mm of rain on Saturday alone.
‘Isolated parts of the mid-north coast could get up to 200mm in a day – it’s not out of the question,’ she said.
Meteorologists have warned those living on the east coast to expect ‘an absolute deluge’ as the weather system moves gradually southwards towards the Harbour City
The eastern seabord of Australia is expected to cop a deluge in the coming days. A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall is now in place for the mid-north coast
‘Wallis Lakes past Newcastle has already received 100mm overnight.’
A flood watch is already in place for the Orara, Bellinger and Nambucca Rivers in northern NSW.
‘Those river catchments require widespread rainfall to flood but we could see that flood watch upgraded to a warning in the coming days,’ Ms Kirkup said.
Sydney could see one of the heaviest days of rainfall periods in recent years, with some suburbs predicted to experience north of 100mm. Pictured: worker cleans a closed Freshwater rockpool on Thursday
The second band of rain will move eastwards from western parts of Australia into NSW, bringing with it downpours of up to 60mm for inland regions of the state.
The forecast is a different picture in other parts of the country, with neither Brisbane and Canberra expected to receive more than 20mm of rain a day into the weekend.
Melbourne will remain mostly dry as the thermostat reaches as high as 25C.
Adelaide residents will also escape the rain, with the next few days bringing sunshine and temperatures around 30C.
Hobart will be dry and sunny with days reaching around 25C.
Pictured: The severe weather warning in place in the mid-north coast and Hunter regions of New South Wales
Over on the other side of the country, Perth residents will sweat through the week with Friday soaring to tops of 38C and Saturday to 37C.
Darwin will be hot with high chances of thunderstorms and rainfall over the coming days.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services earlier issued a warning for residents in Sapphire, in the Central Highlands Region just before 5am on Wednesday, after the area received more than 130mm of rain in three hours.
Meanwhile Sydney will be drenched by up to 35mm of rain forecast for Friday and 50mm for Saturday
‘Due to heavy rainfall, the Retreat Creek is rising rapidly and major flooding is expected. Properties in low-lying areas are likely to be impacted,’ the warning said.
‘Council advises residents to warn neighbours, secure belongings and move to higher ground now.’
More than 215mm of rain fell in the Gemfields, near Sapphire, with the river reaching up to 10m high – hitting the major flood level.
Other central Queensland areas like Florence Vale was hit with 124mm of rain in just three hours and Keilambete had 138mm of rain before midnight.
Thousands of Queenslanders have been urged to move to higher ground after the state was battered by heavy rainfall that’s expected to last for another week (pictured residents in Sunshine Coast)
New South Wales and Queensland are set to be battered by thunderstorms with no sunshine in sight (pictured people sheltering from rain in Brisbane)
‘La Nina has started to ease but it is still expected to influence Australia’s climate in early autumn and is typically associated with above average rainfall for eastern and northern Australia,’ the Bureau of Meteorology’s Sarah Scully said.
‘Showers and storms are continuing into Thursday again with potentially heavy rainfall totals.’
Huge swathes of rain are expected to batter New South Wales and Queensland over the coming days with no sunshine in sight
WEATHER IN YOUR CITY
Friday: Min 19. Max 25. Showers.
Saturday: Min 19. Max 25. Rain.
Sunday: Min 20. Max 26. Showers
Monday: Min 19. Max 27. Showers.
Friday: Min 20. Max 28. Shower or two.
Saturday: Min 21. Max 28. Showers.
Sunday: Min. 22. Max 27. Showers
Monday: Min 20. Max 27. Shower or two.
Friday: Min 18. Max 30. Sunny.
Saturday: Min 19. Max 30. Mostly sunny.
Sunday: Min 20. Max 29. Partly cloudy
Monday: Min 19. Max 25. Partly cloudy.
Friday: Min 12. Max 21. Shower or two.
Saturday: Min 12. Max 20. Showers
Sunday: Min 13. Max 21. Showers
Monday: Min 12. Max 23. Showers.
Friday: Min 15. Max 25. Partly cloudy.
Saturday: Min 15. Max 27. Sunny.
Sunday: Min 17. Max 26. Partly cloudy
Monday: Min 18. Max 26. Shower or two.
Friday: Min 22. Max 38. Very hot and sunny.
Saturday: Min 22. Max 36. Sunny.
Sunday: Min 21. Max 35. Sunny
Monday: Min 19. Max 31. Sunny.
Friday: Min 12. Max 24. Sunny.
Saturday: Min 12. Max 23. Partly cloudy
Sunday: Min 12. Max 23. Partly cloudy
Monday: Min 13. Max 26. Partly cloudy.
Friday: Min 24. Max 32. Shower or two. Possible storm.
Saturday: Min 25. Max 32. Shower or two. Possible storm.
Sunday: Min 25. Max 32. Possible shower or storm
Monday: Min 25. Max 32. Shower or two. Possible storm.
Source: Bureau of Meteorology