In the A-League, Sydney FC’s match against Melbourne Victory in Kogarah has been postponed due to the weather.
However, the NRL match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and Penrith Panthers has gone ahead, in Parramatta – which, as we’ve reported, is experiencing flooding.
Port Stephens, about 200km north of Sydney.
‘We’re in uncharted territory,’ says urban water scientist
The effects of Warragamba Dam spilling over could be more dangerous and unpredictable than when it last substantially spilled over in 1990, a water flow scientist has warned, because of a surge in recent development across western Sydney.
Dr Ian Wright, a water scientist at Western Sydney University who previously worked as as a scientist for Sydney Water studying the Sydney basin flows, says it is unclear what the impact of development and more hard surfaces will have on the floodplain.
He warns that large swathes of western Sydney that were previously bushland and soil – which absorb water before flooding – have been paved over and roads and hard surfaces built to support new suburbs in recent years, and that many of these suburbs “are pretty close to the floodplain”.
It’s going to be a long night for everyone. We are absolutely in uncharted territory.
Because all the hard surfaces that have popped up, we don’t know how the hydrology will react.
The bushland and farmland that used to be there soaked up the water, and needed to be saturated before flooding. But now because of all the paving and the houses, the runoff goes straight into the waterway.
Wright told the Guardian that he believed flood-prone zones could include areas between Wallacia and Camden, Penrith and North Richmond, and Windsor and South Creek.
David Elliott says number of SES rescues ‘completely unacceptable’
The New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, has warned “it’s not going to be an easy week for us” as details of the storms and flooding affecting the state emerge.
Speaking shortly after Warragamba Dam began spilling over, Berejiklian said the “deep-seated, extreme weather event” could last until the end of next week for some parts of the state, and pleaded with residents to obey evacuation warnings.
We hope those predictions are wrong.
Concerning me this morning, as many may be aware, in Chester Hill we experienced an unexpected mini-tornado, which exacerbated the weather conditions, which caused a lot of damage for that region.
The State Emergency Service in NSW has responded to 4,000 call-outs and made 500 direct flood rescues since Thursday. Most were on the mid north coast, however there have been some flood rescues in Sydney’s west.
NSW’s emergency services minister, David Elliott, urged residents to obey the pleas of authorities to not attempt to drive through floodwaters, and to obey flood evacuation warnings.
Five hundred flood rescues over the course of this operation so far is just completely unacceptable. That’s 500 specialist SES crews that have put their lives at risk because people have not heeded the warnings.
If the trajectory is correct and we keep going down this line we will look at 2,000 flood rescues before Wednesday, when the majority of the storm should conclude.
The message is very clear. Do not walk through or drive through flood waters, do not drive over water that is covering a road.
The SES commissioner, Carlene York,said:
I have seen vision on the TV of people running through floodwaters, driving through floodwaters … your vehicle could float away and you cannot control what will happen. You are putting your life and your passengers at risk as well as my and other emergency services that will go out and respond to your call. Be patient.
York also clarified that the mini-tornado in Chester Hill affected about three streets in the suburb, and that about a thousand people have lost power now.
She said a mini-tornado could occur again, and that it emphasised the importance for Sydneysiders to not leave their home for non-essential reasons as they could risk being caught up in such a weather event.
“I hope it won’t happen again, it is an unusual event but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen again,” she said of the mini tornado.
Sydney’s Warragamba Dam overflowing
Sydney’s Warragamba Dam has begun overflowing as intense rain continues to batter NSW.
While Water NSW had predicted the overflow, AAP reported that by 3pm the water began spilling out of the dam. It is now expected to join river flows.
Earlier, the Bureau of Meteorology national flood services manager, Justin Robinson, said on Saturday a spill at Warragamba Dam could lead to minor flooding in Sydney’s west, specifically at Penrith and North Richmond later on Saturday, potentially developing into major flooding overnight.
‘Mini-tornado’ rips through western Sydney, damaging homes
A “mini-tornado” has ripped through a western Sydney suburb, tossing trees, ripping off roof tiles and spearing a trampoline into the side of a house.
This follows our earlier reports in this blog that more than 30 homes in Chester Hill had been damaged, according to Fire and Rescue NSW.
AAP is reporting that many of those homes partially collapsed, and that power has been cut to much of the area.
Emergency services were called to Chester Hill around 8.30am on Saturday after reports of widespread storm damage across the area.
“Fire and Rescue Macarthur and Wollondilly crews are on scene in Chester Hill where a mini-tornado has left a trail of destruction damaging multiple properties,” the brigade said in a tweet.
“Crews are working to remove trees, tarp roofs and conduct rapid impact assessments.”
Photos of the damage show a trampoline with its legs impaling the side of a house.
The phenomenon was likely caused by intense localised rainfall, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
Meteorologist David Wilkie says their systems picked up strong rotating winds, but the event may not have technically been a tornado.
“It’s hard to say exactly what it was. Whether or not it reached the kind of threshold you might term a tornado is certainly debatable but … looking at the damage it was obviously some pretty intense wind gusts that passed over the area.”
The freak storm struck as a weather system that has sparked record flooding along the NSW coast headed towards Sydney.
More from the Parramatta River.
There is some more information about the house seen floating down a river in Taree, on the New South Wales mid north coast.
AAP reports the cottage used to stand at Mondrook, opposite Taree, on the Manning River.
Today flood waters in Taree are expected to rival a record set before the second world war.
Surging flood waters lifted the house from its foundations on Saturday and it’s been filmed moving at speed down the river, which is expected to peak at 5.8 metres later in the day.
That’s higher than Taree’s 1978 and 2011 floods and close to the record flood level of six metres recorded in 1929.
Lyle Edge says his brother lived in the house with his partner. They should have been getting married on Saturday. Instead they’ve been left homeless and their pets are dead.
“Our brother Joshua and his fiancée Sarah lost their entire home and belongings to the flood waters in Mondrook on the mid north coast,” Edge has written in launching a GoFundMe campaign to help the couple.
“What was supposed to be their wedding day ended up with their house floating down river and them losing everything they have worked hard for and sadly losing their pets as well.”
In just three hours, the campaign had raised almost $8,000.
Footage of flooding at Hornsby, in Sydney’s upper north.
And this, from Penrith, which is in the city’s far west, at the foot of the lower Blue Mountains – an area that authorities are predicting to be hit with intense rain this afternoon.
As we reported earlier, Sydney’s Warragamba Dam is expected to spill over this afternoon, potentially causing further flooding across western Sydney.
There are reports of damaged homes across Sydney’s west.
More than 30 homes have been damaged in the suburb of Chester Hill, according to Fire and Rescue NSW.
Meanwhile the State Emergency Service has performed two flood rescues in Sydney’s western suburbs.
Here is a photo of the banks of the Parramatta River at a ferry stop.
We’re expecting the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and the emergency services minister, David Elliott, to hold a press conference at 3pm from the Bankstown State Emergency Service unit. The SES commissioner, Carlene York,will also provide an update.
I’ll bring you the latest from that when it happens.