Australia | March 2, 2022
As the wild weather slowly turns south toward Sydney, military helicopters evacuated stranded individuals from rooftops of flooded homes in eastern Australia, and a tenth victim was discovered on Tuesday following days of severe rain.
The death toll rose to ten after a woman in her 80s was discovered dead inside a flooded home, according to authorities.
Floodwaters from the downpour, which began late last week, have flooded many towns and bridges in Queensland and New South Wales, and are spreading south, with heavy rains and possible flash flooding expected in Sydney.
On March 1, 2022, residents stand along a flooded street in Lawrence, a suburb of Lismore, New South Wales, about 70 kilometers away.
“We will see this very significant weather system coming onto the central coast of Sydney, and we are already seeing components of it right now,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said during a press conference.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, Sydney, Australia’s largest city and home to more than 5 million people, could receive up to 150 mm (6 inches) of rain in a six-hour period on Tuesday afternoon. According to government data, the average rainfall in Sydney in March was 138 mm.
Premier Dominic Perrottet of New South Wales described the harsh weather as a “one in a thousand-year occurrence,” saying emergency workers carried out over 1,000 rescues across the state after receiving 6,000 pleas for assistance.
Hundreds of people are still stranded in their houses in Lismore, New South Wales, which is experiencing its worst floods on record, with some sleeping on rooftops. According to Mayor Steve Krieg of Channel Seven, nine people are still missing, with 400 rescues still needed.
Authorities say over 50 people were rescued after being caught on a bridge overnight as quickly rising waves inundated both ends.
For the second year in a row, Australia’s east coast summer has been dominated by the La Nina climate trend, which is often associated with more rainfall.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Tuesday that Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, received over 80% of its annual rainfall in the last three days.