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- Boy, 3, dies after being hit by tree
- Flood crisis claims fourth person
Parts of Sydney have been drenched in their heaviest daily rainfall totals in more than a decade as a wild storm system washed over the city on Monday night after causing havoc in the north of the state and in Queensland.
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Wild weather drenches Sydney
Sydney is experiencing its heaviest rainfall in a decade as wild weather from ex-cyclone Oswald passes through the region.
About 1500 residents downstream of Grafton spent the night in emergency accommodation after being evacuated due to the storm, which has claimed four lives in Queensland, including that of a three-year-old boy who was hit by a falling tree in Brisbane's north
The residents were ordered to evacuate from their homes in Ulmarra, Cowper and Brushgrove districts shortly before 7pm on Monday due to flooding of the Clarence River. Low-lying areas of North Lismore were also evacuated on Monday night.
Floodwaters also have cut off all roads between NSW and Queensland and isolated about 2000 people in northern NSW.
The remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald stalled over northern NSW on Monday night, but a separate low-pressure system formed over the Hunter and beat a path down the coast to Sydney.
Authorities are monitoring the Clarence River in Grafton, which originally was expected to peak at 7.9 metres at about 9am on Tuesday. However that later was revised up to an expected peak of eight metres at midday.
About 3000 people living near the bridge in Grafton have received an evacuation warning.
State Emergency Service workers on Monday night rescued a man from a pontoon Grafton, while an elderly couple also were rescued from a catamaran that had broken its mooring.
The Bellinger River received 280 millimetres since 9am on Monday, the heaviest rainfall in four years. Flood waters have cut Bellingen in half, and the main bridge there is completely under water.
The heaviest rainfall in the Illawarra was on the escarpment, which received 150 millimetres of rain, while Wollongong received 120 millimetres, the heaviest daily rainfall total in two years.
Wind gusts of 100km/h were reported in Coffs Harbour overnight, but in Sydney the wind was not as fierce as predicted, peaking at 70km/h on Sydney Harbour.
The surf is going to be dangerous for a fair while after this rain clears, probably until the end of the week. The sea is going to be pretty mucky as well.
A severe weather warning remains in place on Tuesday for the damaging winds, heavy rain and damaging surf for people in the Metropolitan, Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, Hunter, Illawarra, South Coast and Central Tablelands forecast districts.
Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said Sydney was saturated in widespread rainfall totals of between 80 and 150 millimetres overnight, causing localised flooding in some areas, including Camden.
The wettest area of the city was Frenchs Forest, which received 155 millimetres of rain since 9am yesterday.
Richmond was saturated in 111 millimetres of rain, the biggest daily total in 16 years in the suburb, while Bankstown, Canterbury and Badgerys Creek recorded 100 millimetres, the heaviest in 12 years.
Mr Dutschke said many of Sydney's western suburbs received their heaviest daily rainfall totals in five years overnight.
But Mr Dutschke said by 5am on Tuesday, the heaviest rainfalls had passed for Sydney.
"So when people are getting ready to go to work it should not be too bad as far as rain coming down, except for water on roads that don't have such good drainage," he said.
"It will take a little bit longer for it to ease off in the Illawarra and the South Coast. The South Coast won't get any easing until this afternoon."
2900 calls for help
State Emergency Service spokesman Michael Eburn said officers had responded to 2900 calls for assistance for help across NSW, mostly in the north of the state.
However that number could rise rapidly as people wake on Tuesday and assessed the damage to their properties.
"Our local units have been out in Sydney dealing with localised flooding in Camden and normal call outs, such as trees down and leaking roofs," he said.
"It has certainly been more significant in the north of NSW. We've evacuated low-lying areas of North Lismore and a couple of evacuation warnings were issued for Grafton.
"We've done 19 flood rescues, and most of those are avoidable things - people entering floodwaters despite our advice."
The low pressure system is expected to move out to sea on Tuesday, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
Mr Dutschke said dangerous surf conditions were expected today and for the rest of the week, with waves of up to six metres expected to hit beaches.
‘‘There is a fair bit of beach erosion going on,’’ he said. ‘‘The surf is going to be dangerous for a fair while after this rain clears, probably until the end of the week. The sea is going to be pretty mucky as well.’’
The rain is expected to ease on Tuesday morning and clear by the afternoon, with Sydney expected to reach a maximum of 27 degrees. The rain has also eased in the north of the state, where temperatures are expected to reach the low 30s on Tuesday.
‘‘It’s going to brighten up pretty quickly after this rain clears and get quite warm,’’ Mr Dutschke said.
However he said there was the chance of showers and thunderstorms in coming days.
‘‘While this rain is becoming much lighter and clearing, there is still a moderate amount of instability and it’s enough to cause afternoon showers to develop for the next few days and even a few storms, in eastern parts of NSW and Queensland,’’ he said.
Transport hit by storm
Trains were suspended on the South Coast line on Monday night between Wollongong and Waterfall due to heavy rain and flooding, however services were back to normal by Tuesday morning.
However, trains remain suspended between Port Kembla and Wollongong due to flooding. Buses are replacing trains on that section of the line.
No other delays were reported on the CityRail network on Tuesday morning.
The Transport Management Centre said a number of roads and highways were closed across the state, including the Pacific Highway between Grafton and Ballina.
On Tuesday morning, the following roads were closed due to flooding:
In the state’s north:
- The Pacific Highway is closed between Ballina and Grafton at Shark Creek and Swan Creek. No detours are available.
- The Summerland Way is closed about 11 kilometres south of Kyogle and about 10 kilometres south of Casino.
- The Gwydir Highway is closed about 70 kilometres west of Grafton at Jackadgery due to a landslip.
- Armidale Road is closed between Ebor and Nymboida.
- The Gwydir Highway is closed at the Gibralter Ranges in Glen Innes due to fallen trees.
- Bangalow Road is closed between Bangalow and Lismore.
- Tweed Valley Way is closed in Murwillumbah.
In the state’s north-west:
- The Newell Highway is closed between Boggabilla and Moree there is no access to the Newell Highway from Queensland.
- Royal National Park - Audley Road at Audley Weir closed in both directions.
- Glenfield - Cambridge Avenue at Causeway closed in both directions.
- Shanes Park - Stony Creek Road at Causeway closed in both directions.
- Oxford Falls - Wakehurst Parkway remains closed in both directions.
- Kensington - Two of three south-bound lanes on Anzac Parade at Day Avenue closed.
- Rozelle - Inbound traffic on The Crescent approaching James Craig Road affected by flooding
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