EAnother night of extreme rainfall has flooded entire streets and caused significant damage in Australia's coastal metropolis of Sydney. The Warragamba Dam, responsible for supplying drinking water to the city of more than a million people, overflowed on Saturday morning (local time) and other dams were expected to reach their limits later in the day, authorities said. Several bridges were closed and residents of low-lying areas were asked to move themselves and their belongings to safety.

Residents in New South Wales had to be rescued from their homes or cars trapped in water in more than 150 cases, half of them in the Sydney metropolitan area, the Civil Protection Agency said.

The risk of flooding is likely to continue for days

The day before, the east coast metropolis had the highest amount of precipitation recorded in two years – almost as much rain fell in 24 hours as the average for the entire month of April. The ground was already saturated, and the following night it got even worse: by Saturday morning another 100-200 millimeters had fallen, sometimes over 250 millimeters.

For comparison, the German weather service talks about heavy rain from 20 millimeters in six hours; over 60 millimeters is described as an “extreme storm”. In Sydney, several times that amount came from the sky.

According to the Civil Defense, more than 4,000 volunteers supported the authorities in the rescue and clean-up work. There were huge disruptions in local public transport, with many trains, buses and ferries standing still. Landslides occurred in places and large boulders landed on the slopes in the middle of the road. However, operations at Sydney Airport were largely back to normal after numerous connections were canceled or diverted inbound flights the previous day.

North of Sydney: Water on the streets of North Narrabeen


North of Sydney: Water on the streets of North Narrabeen
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Image: dpa

Authorities expect the risk of flooding to continue for days due to water flowing from high ground and dams. The storm is now expected to move further south along the coast. Residents of the southern suburbs braced themselves for an extreme situation similar to that in Sydney.