Weather Australia: Queensland and NSW are on alert as BOM warns of more storms
A warning has been issued to residents of parts of New South Wales and Queensland after a number of dramatic rescues were carried out overnight as wild weather ravaged the east coast.
State Emergency Services (SES) received more than 850 calls for help and carried out 34 floods overnight across NSW.
Major flood warnings were issued in NSW and QLD as the states were expected to receive more than a month’s worth of rain in a single day.
A woman and her puppy were rescued overnight by NSW SES crews after getting trapped in floodwaters off Muswellbrook (pictured)
Rescue teams were called to collect a woman and her puppy from a causeway in Muswellbrook in the NSW Upper Hunter Region at 11 p.m. Friday.
The woman had tried to flee to safety after a deluge hit the area, flooding her home.
SES Assistant Commissioner Dean Storey says it’s been hectic for 24 hours across the state, but especially in the Upper Hunter.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reported that some parts of the state were hit by more than 100mm of rain on Friday
“That’s still our focus today,” he told ABC TV Saturday morning.
“Scone and Muswellbrook have been hit by flooding in the past 24 hours and will remain so to this day, with the focus shifting downstream.”
In the central west of the state, the occupants of two vehicles driving on the Nyrang Creek Bridge had a lucky escape after it succumbed to flooding.
One car plunged into the water, while the second car had to jump off the collapsing bridge.
The driver was taken to Orange Hospital and is in stable condition, while the passenger escaped with non-life-threatening injuries.
Flood warnings remain in effect over the weekend for inland rivers in NSW and the Hunter, Hawkesbury Nepean Rivers.
“This is a pretty big statewide flood risk right now,” Mr Storey said.
“We urge all communities and those flood-prone areas to be aware of the risks, monitor local conditions and follow the advice.”
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reported Friday that some parts of the state have been hit by more than 100mm of rain.
By 9 p.m., the downpour caused Sydney’s Warragamba Dam to reach capacity and begin to spill.
There could be “downstream effects” from the release of excess water, said WaterNSW, the body responsible for the dam.
Across the border, the flood turned deadly when a man from Central Queensland was killed after his ute was swept away in the floodwaters off Hibernia.
Sydney’s Warragamba Dam (pictured) is reaching capacity and it started spilling at 9pm on Friday
The Queensland Police Department had to give a clear warning to motorists who drove into the water at night amid a series of risky rescues.
In Darling Downs, officers pulled two women and a baby from traffic in a vehicle to safety after water rose half a meter over the Freestone Creek Bridge.
Nearby police used rope to form a human chain and entered high currents to rescue a woman from her flooded vehicle on Jack Smith Gully Road.
Darling Downs District Superintendent Danny Shaw warned drivers not to be complacent about flooding amid the torrential rains.
“As we can see from these overnight incidents, flash flooding can happen very quickly and without any notice, even on roads where you normally drive without any problems,” Chief Inspector Shaw said.
State Emergency Services (SES) received more than 850 requests for assistance and carried out 34 floods overnight across NSW
“This kind of rain also causes significant structural damage to roads, so even if you think it looks safe, you never really know what’s under water.
The worst affected areas were in central Queensland and the Wide Bay regions, with Kilmarnock Station at Clermont taking 182mm and Bundaberg 192mm.
This comes as a La Niña weather event was officially declared Wednesday by the Bureau of Meteorology, forecasting wild weather in the east, center and south of the country.
Eastern parts of Queensland, NSW and possibly eastern Victoria are likely to see more rainfall during this time.
Sydney and Brisbane were expected to receive between 50 and 100mm of rain over the next three days, with severe weather warnings in all states.
Eastern Victoria is likely to receive between 25mm and 50mm of rain and some regions have a flood warning in place.
Major flood warnings were issued in NSW and QLD as the states were expected to get more than a month of rain in one day
Andrew Watkins, chief of operational climate services at the Bureau of Meteorology, said that although this La Niña was weaker than some of the previous ones, it could still cause severe flooding after Australia experienced its wettest spring since 2011.
“Last year we saw a weak to moderate La Niña event, we are backing it up with a weaker La Niña event, much weaker than what we saw in 2010-2011 and 2011-2012,” said Mr Watkins.
“It’s not uncommon to have La Niña events in a row.
“The most comparable event is 2007-2009, when we saw heavy rain in November and December, but then it retreated to the later summer months.”
‘It does increase the risk of flooding, but it reduces the risk of forest fires.
“Our problem at the moment is that we already have quite wet soils, quite wet rivers and quite high catchments, so if we get any more rain, the risk of widespread flooding increases.”