A man clears mud from a property affected by flooding in the Melbourne suburb of Maribyrnong October 15, 2022. – Australia reported its first death in days of widespread flash flooding on October 15, 2022, despite heavy rains easing and flood levels well beyond the borders of the south-east. Hundreds of homeowners began a long cleanup after storm water engulfed streets, homes and cars in three states, with Melbourne’s suburbs among the hardest-hit. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)
A weekend rain over much of the already sodden eastern state of New South Wales caused water to rise overnight, isolating some towns and cities.
Australia’s east coast has been repeatedly battered by heavy rains driven by successive La Niña cycles over the past two years.
Many people in the town of Eugowra, about 800 people, 350 kilometers west of Sydney, crawled onto their rooftops to flee the recent flood.
Muddy brown waters have turned the city into a murky lake dotted with the tops of buildings and trees, TV images showed.
“We had 140 flood rescues in Eugowra alone. More than 100 of those were rooftop rescues,” said state emergency services secretary Stephanie Cooke.
Stranded residents were brought to safety by boats and helicopters, she said at a press conference.
“This is a very serious situation, not just in Eugowra but in many places,” Cooke said.
New Zealand dispatched 12 people on Monday to help fight the state’s flooding, she said.
The New South Wales Ambulance Services have also been in contact with US and Singapore authorities to secure further assistance, she said.
NSW has issued 16 immediate evacuation warnings since floods hit the central, western and southern parts of the state.
– devastation –
“I would ask people to heed this warning: we can see how quickly the waters can rise, how quickly flash floods can occur and the devastation they cause,” said Carlene York, NSW’s Commissioner for Emergency Services.
Rescuers have conducted 173 flood rescues since early Monday, she said.
The Bureau of Meteorology said more than 150,000 lightning bolts hit the ground in New South Wales in a 24-hour period as a sign of the intensity of the thunderstorms.
The town of Forbes, not far west of Eugowra, was hit with 118mm of rain in 24 hours – the highest daily rainfall in 28 years, the bureau said.
The flood disaster on the east coast in March – caused by severe storms in Queensland and New South Wales – claimed more than 20 lives.
Tens of thousands of Sydney residents were ordered to evacuate in July as renewed flooding swept the outskirts of the city.
Scientists think climate change could make flood periods more extreme because warmer air contains more moisture.
© Agence France-Presse