Australia suffers one in a 1000 year deluge as catastrophic flooding death toll rises

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Severe weather warnings have been issued for parts of New South Wales, including Australia’s most populous city Sydney, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting up to 150mm of rainfall on Wednesday. Around 500,000 people in the state have been ordered to evacuate or are on high alert as the storm makes its way along Australia’s east coast

The weather is expected to calm on Thursday and Friday but will become stronger again at the weekend.

Local intense spells of rainfall could reach 200mm and wind speeds could reach 90km/h.

A man’s body was found in the main street in the town of Lismore in New South Wales on Wednesday, the day after two women in their 80s in the same town died in their homes.

New South Wales (NSW) Deputy Premier Paul Toole said: “We know in realistic terms, we may see more loss of life over the coming days.

“This is a catastrophic event.”

He warned those affected by previous flooding in March 2021 should prepare to leave their homes.

He added: “This is our worst fear.

“We are seeing the situation get worse.

And it will get worse before it gets better.”

In Queensland the Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the six-day total rainfall for Brisbane was 792.9mm, smashing the previous record set in 1974 of 655.8mm.

The COVID-19 pandemic is hindering the evacuation, as the threat of the virus still hangs over the community.

Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Paul Baxter told reporters in Lismore: “One of the really difficult things to manage was taking people into evacuation centres then people putting their hands up and going ‘I’ve also got Covid’.

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“It’s just these extra dimensions that are just making things so complicated and difficult to manage, but those local people, the local service crews, the community members are helping their people.

“This is a big disaster and it’s over such a widespread area.”

State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York said they had seen “record levels that we haven’t seen in recorded history”.

She warned that even people who live on streets that have not been mentioned in alerts should stay alert and be prepared to evacuate.

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