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Sydney rains: Record rainfall brings flooding and douses fires

A car passes a man standing in flood water in Sydney, Australia (9 Feb 2020)Image copyright

The Australian city of Sydney has been hit by its heaviest rain in 30 years, bringing flooding and travel chaos and forcing thousands from their homes.

The state weather agency said 391.6mm of rain had fallen in the past four days, warning of potentially life-threatening flash floods.

Emergency services advised people in Sydney to stay at home on Monday because of disruption to transport.

Tens of thousands of people have also been left without power.

Amid the chaos, there is also relief that the rains have extinguished many of the bushfires which have torn through New South Wales in recent months.

Among them is the Currowan fire which had burned for 74 days around the town of Shoalhaven, destroying nearly 500,000 hectares.

Despite the fire relief, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) warned that fire-hit areas can be particularly prone to flooding, and that fast-moving waters can carry large amounts of debris.

Image Copyright @BOM_NSW

Image Copyright @BOM_NSW

A severe weather warning is now in place for the entire coast of NSW, Australia’s most populous state.

Government agencies have warned that high tides forecast for the coming days could worsen flooding in many areas.

In Sydney alone, at least 200 people were rescued by emergency services.

Several people have been injured, including four who were inside a car which was crushed by a falling tree in the city centre on Sunday afternoon.

Emergency services are searching for one man believed to have been swept off a bridge in his car.

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“Everywhere has been hit, it’s hard to pinpoint where it’s worst,” said Matt Kirby, spokesman for the State Emergency Services (SES).

Thousands of people in low-lying areas of the city have been told to leave or get ready to leave their homes.

On Sunday night, people living around the Narrabeen Lagoon, a low-lying area in northern Sydney, were told to evacuate before roads became impassable.

Image copyright

Image caption

The winds whipped up sea foam along the coast at Collaroy, northern Sydney

The northern beaches area of Sydney has already seen significant damage, with several metres of beach being washed away in places.

The massive rainfall has also replenished reservoirs in the region, which has been battling years of drought.

The Warragamba Dam, outside Sydney, is heading towards being 70% full, say officials. At the end of last week it was at only 42%.

Media caption‘Wow check this out!”: Australia sees heavy rain

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