There are also more than 60 evacuation warnings in effect.
Four floods in six months
The Windsor Bridge was flooded again Monday as forecasters warned that flooding from the Hawkesbury, Nepean and Georges rivers would reach levels previously seen in both March 2022 and March 2021.
Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino said Sydney received the equivalent of a daily amount of rain in Sydney Harbour, more than the monthly average in the first few days of July.
“It’s hard to believe we’re seeing another downpour of this magnitude hitting this part of Australia,” he said Today†
“We’ve had some this year, but this one in particular has been exceptionally tough for areas near and south of Sydney.
“Illawarra’s coast has had about 600mm in the last three days. That’s about the full year average for places like Canberra and Melbourne at just over 72 hours.”
The SES and other emergency services have carried out 116 flood rescues in recent days.
Eighty-three of those had been since 9 p.m. Sunday. Since then, there have also been at least 1,593 requests for help.
“And after every flood, we have some flood rescues and sometimes deaths that happen because people don’t follow that instruction and drive through floodwaters,” Perrottet said.
“People drive through flooding because they can’t see the depth of the road below.
“You can’t estimate how deep that water is.
“Please don’t drive through floodwaters and protect you and your family and make sure the SES and other volunteers don’t have to put their lives on the line.”
Many places along the NSW coast, from Maitland and Newcastle to the Illawarra, have seen over 100mm of rain in the last 24 hours.
“We’re seeing a steady stream of showers reaching the central coast of New South Wales,” said Jane Golding of the Bureau of Meteorology.
“Right now the focus area is very much along the Illawarra, through Sydney, in the Blue Mountains and the Central Coast area, and as mentioned, we expect rainfall accumulation for some locations to be very high again today.
“So that’s on top of the hundreds of millimeters that these areas have gained in the past two to three days.”
She warned people to stay out of the water because the waves generated by the weather system are dangerous.
Parts of the state have already had a month of rain in just hours, with some areas experiencing the heaviest rain in 30 years.
“We now face dangers on multiple fronts,” said Emergency Relief Minister Steph Cooke.
“Flashes Flooding, River Flooding, and Coastal Erosion.”
The Hawkesbury also flooded the bridge at North Richmond, cutting the town off from Greater Sydney.
With the Warragamba inundated, parts of Penrith, Camden and Chipping Norton are also under water, with pictures of street signs in the west of Penrith.
Cooke said raising the dam was being considered.
But she warned it wouldn’t be a short-term move.
“These dams are not made as softening dams to begin with,” she said.
“They were either water supply or irrigation dams. If you expand them for another purpose, it becomes a very large and complex project and process.”
Senior weather bureau meteorologist Jonathan How said weather conditions will ease after today, but flooding remains an issue.
Heavy rain of up to 150mm is forecast in parts of NSW today but will slow down in the Illawarra and Hunter tomorrow afternoon.
“Even better news is that we expect it to be drier sooner than forecast,” he said.
“By Wednesday, we’re looking at mostly dry conditions on the east coast.”
But he said the rivers would remain swollen and the floodwaters would remain high for some time after the rains had stopped.