Sydney weather: Flood warning for suburbs as Warragamba Dam set to spill

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Residents in Sydney’s west are being told to prepare to leave with the city’s largest dam set to spill after driving rain smashed the entire east coast.

Sydney’s largest dam is expected to spill tonight as the east coast deluge tips its capacity past 100 per cent. On Friday morning it was sitting at 99.6 per cent full.

WaterNSW, the government body that manages the dam, has said there could be “downstream impacts” following the release of water.

Sydney’s Hawkesbury-Nepean river system, which the dam feeds into, is now on a watch for minor flooding from later on Friday.

That could see the river burst its banks near the north west Sydney suburbs of Windsor and Richmond. Residents in low lying areas are being urged to listen to the latest information from the Bureau of Meteorology and prepare to leave if advised.

The area was heavily affected by the huge floods of March. Although at this point flooding is not expected to be at that level.

The NSW State Emergency Service has attended multiple incidents in the past 24 hours due to flooding, mostly vehicles in rivers, and have received almost 300 calls for assistance.

The Queensland State Emergency Service has confirmed it’s received 300 requests from assistance since Monday.

Bundaberg saw an enormous 190mm of rain yesterday. Meanwhile, Canberra has now recorded its wettest spring ever with over 300mm of rain falling on the capital.

And the rain doesn’t look like it’s going far.

Weekend of dangerous flash flooding

“We’re looking at thunderstorms and dangerous flash flooding for Friday and that will continue into the weekend particularly on the Queensland side of the border,” said Sky News Weather senior meteorologist Tom Saunders.

“River flooding continues in southern Queensland, inland NSW, eastern Victoria and small pockets of central and north east South Australia.

“And the rain will continue for Queensland and NSW into next week.”

A low pressure system has been intensifying as it headed towards the east coast sucking in tropical moisture.

A trough associated with that low is extending up the entire Queensland coast all the way to Cape York.

There could be some respite from the rain on Saturday but on Sunday showers are set to return.

Meteorologists have said that rivers are so swollen that it won’t take much new rain to lead to flooding

Sydney dam set to spill; flood watch in suburbs

The BOM has scores of flood warnings in place across several states.

In NSW, major flood warnings are in place for the Peel, Namoi, Beluba and Lachlan rivers. The Namoi has reached a height of 7 metres. Moderate flooding could hit the Lower Hunter and Castlereagh rivers.

WaterNSW said on Friday that inflows to the Warragamba Dam in Sydney’s west, which is already near capacity, “are rising as a result of the current rain event which could total up to 75-100mm”.

“Waters modelling indicates that on Saturday morning the peak spill volume may reach a rate of up to 100 gigalitres per day, one-fifth of the March spill event that peaked at 500GL/day,” the organisation said in a statement.

“Downstream impacts are likely and will be determined by the spill volume combined with downstream tributary flows.”

A NSW SES spokesman told news.com.au that people in low lying areas along the Hawkesbury-Nepean should prepare their homes including clearing roofs, gutters and drains of debris and to be prepared to leave if advised.

However he stressed there was no indication current flooding along the river, that skirts Sydney’s western and northern suburbs, would be as severe as floods earlier this year that caused widespread damage and led to several deaths.

The SES has attended 17 incidents in the 24 hours to Friday morning. Most of these have been in the Upper Hunter Region and have involved cars in swollen rivers.

Nonetheless, most motorists were doing the right thing, he said, when faced with flooded roads and were turning around.

There have been 300 requests for assistance involving damaged roofs, fallen trees and flooded properties.

Floods a danger in southern Queensland

Widespread areas of southern Queensland are currently under a flood watch with the BOM warning widespread minor and moderate flooding is possible over the coming days.

“A continuation of heavy rainfall is expected to continue during Thursday and Friday with the heaviest rainfall expected in the central west, and central highlands and Coalfields and then in catchments along the coast between Rockhampton and Hervey Bay,” the BOM said in statement.

A flood watch is in place for Gippsland and other parts of eastern Victoria for minor flooding with the state also affected by the system sweeping across the east.

The Bureau earlier this week declared a La Nina weather event was under way in the tropical Pacific, driving the wet, stormy and humid weather.

The La Nina weather phenomenon, linked to the shifting pattern of sea surface temperatures through the Pacific and Indian oceans, affects rainfall and temperature variations in Australia.

Typically, it is associated with heavier rainfall for eastern, northern and central parts of the country as well as a higher likelihood of tropical cyclones.

During La Nina, waters in the central or eastern tropical Pacific become cooler than normal, persistent southeast to north westerly winds strengthen in the tropical and equatorial Pacific and clouds shift to the west, closer to Australia.

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