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Thousands of people have been told to evacuate Sydney as heavy rain leads to a ‘life-threatening emergency’

An intense low pressure system off the east coast of Australia is expected to bring more heavy rain through to Monday in southern parts of New South Wales, although several places in the state have been hit by around a month of rain this weekend.

Around 100 millimeters (4 inches) of rain could fall in the next 24 hours over a wide swath of parts of New South Wales, from Newcastle south to Sydney, over a distance of more than 300 km (186 miles), the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“If you were safe in 2021, don’t assume you will be safe tonight. This is a rapidly evolving situation and we could very well see affected areas that have never experienced flooding before. ‚Äúsaid New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services Steph Cooke. televised press briefing on Sunday evening.

Earlier today she urged people to reconsider holiday travel as bad weather hit at the start of the school holidays.

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

More than 200 millimeters (8 inches) of rain fell in many areas, some reaching up to 350 mm, the Bureau of Meteorology said, warning of flooding risks along the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers.

Camden in Sydney’s southwest was under water and the weather office predicted water levels in the North Richmond and Windsor areas northwest of Sydney would peak at higher levels than during the three last major floods since March 2021.

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Heavy rain caused Sydney’s main dam to spill early on Sunday morning, water authorities said, adding that modeling showed the spill would be comparable to a major spill in March 2021 at Warragamba Dam.

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

Around 70 evacuation orders are in place in Sydney as authorities have urged people to leave their homes before they are stranded without power.

As tens of thousands face evacuation, frustration has grown in North Richmond and Windsor in Sydney’s west after flooding submerged homes for the third time this year.

“We’re done with this. We’re so done. (It’s) a bit too much for us,” a flood-affected Windsor resident told ABC television.

A resident takes a photo of a floodwater-inundated road in Camden, Sydney's south-west on Sunday July 3, 2022.

At least 29 people were rescued from the floodwaters, including one who clung to a pole for an hour as workers struggled to reach them.

The body of a man who fell from a kayak has been removed from Sydney Harbour, police said, adding the circumstances were being investigated but appeared to be related to the windy conditions.

Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt offered more troops and said on Monday the government had activated the satellite-based emergency management system to help with flood relief efforts.

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