Sydneysiders have been urged to batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst as the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) extends its flood warnings to include the Blue Mountains and the city.
The BoM has predicted between 30 to 50mm of rain will fall overnight in the Greater Sydney area.
The NSW SES has issued an evacuation warning for people within the Picton CBD south-west of Sydney.
“As a result of rising flood waters people within the Picton CBD should prepare to evacuate,” the NSW SES said.
“Residents should monitor the situation and be prepared to evacuate when instructed to do so.
“A flood evacuation order will be issued by the NSW SES if evacuation is required”.
Warragamba Dam – Sydney’s main water source – has spilled, while a major flood warning is in place for the Gloucester and Manning Rivers.
Residents on the NSW Mid-North Coast are on high alert tonight, with concerns the Macleay River may break its banks.
Residents of Coffs Harbour are being told to expect more than 250mm of rain tomorrow alone.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said that the wet weather will continue to drench Sydney for days to come.
“The last time we got major floods in the NSW the weather event passed in two or three days, unfortunately this will be a deep-seated, extreme weather event, likely to rain until towards the end of next week on Thursday or Friday,” she said.
“Warragamba Dam and the potential for spillover is a concern.
“The window for evacuation is not a big one depending on where you live, some communities already have been advised to stock up and stay home.
“I hate to say this again to all our citizens of the state but it’s not going to be an easy week for us.”
In the past day, the SES have responded to 4000 callouts and 500 direct flood rescues, Ms Berejiklian said.
Penrith and North Richmond are expected to experience flooding in the afternoon heading into the evening as the Warragamba Dam spills and combines with the Upper Nepean River and Grose River.
The last significant spill from Warragamba was in August 1990.
Justin Robinson, Flood Operations Manager at the BOM, said flooding levels near the Nepean and Hawkesbury Rivers could be similar to the major event which occurred in February 2020.
“(We are) expecting the levels to be similar to the February 2020 event and usually we’ll see Penrith peak first and you go downstream to North Richmond and then Sackville and lower Portland,” he said.
“So, expecting the initial rivers to peak Saturday night into Sunday, and maybe lower Portland might start peaking into Monday.”
Dams such as Nepean, Cataract, Cordeaux and Avon are also expected to reach capacity and begin spilling.
In the west, the Parramatta River broke its banks this afternoon at the Charles Street weir and ferry wharf.
Floodwaters have completely submerged the terminal and have also inundated the ground level of the new Powerhouse Museum site in Parramatta’s CBD.
The State Emergency Services (SES) have performed at least two flood rescues in Western Sydney.