Lashing rain gives way to blue skies as Sydney mops up
- Hundreds of boats in danger
- Evacuations, power cuts, traffic gridlock
- Policeman's escape after mountain fall
- How the morning commute turned to chaos
- Latest public transport information
- Live traffic | Forecast | Emergency contacts
- Photos: Sydney cops a soaking
Weatherzone: Sydney radar
Sydney has suffered its heaviest rainfall in five years, bringing the city's transport system to a halt and causing hundreds of rescues and evacuations.
About 120 millimetres of rain fell on parts of the CBD this morning, with the Bureau of Meteorology's Observatory Hill weather station recording its highest daily rainfall total since 2007.
In the city's west, 146mm fell on Merrylands.
Rain cascades down the steps outside the Bondi pavilion.
"There has been very, very heavy rain and some very strong winds," a Bureau of Meteorology spokesman told AAP.
It sparked widespread flash flooding, forced the closure of railway lines and dozens of roads, and led to power being cut to at least 300 properties.
Hundreds of boats on Sydney Harbour are in danger of sinking as the city is hammered by torrential rain.
"We've got boats filling up with water from all this heavy downpour," NSW Maritime spokesman Neil Patchett told ABC Radio.
"We've got a boating officer right now heading out to Iron Cove, just west of Iron Cove Bridge, to attend a nine-metre cruiser that's at risk of sinking."
Mr Patchett said he expected there to be "a number" of other boats on the harbour - of which there are about 6000 - that could suffer the same fate.
"It's a message to people to keep an eye on their moored vessels on the harbour to make sure they're literally shipshape and ready for this kind of weather," he said.
"A well-found boat, protected with covers, with good, solid ground tackle ... can withstand this sort of weather, but they need constant monitoring and maintenance."
Mr Patchett also warned boat owners of debris such as logs floating down Sydney's rivers that could become tangled in the moorings of vessels.
Going under ... Flash flooding at Renwick Street in Marrickville.
More than 20 people were evacuated from the Scalabrini Retirement Village in Austral, south-west Sydney, after the Bonds Creek flooded.
"The creek broke its banks there, so it was a pre-emptive flood rescue," a State Emergency Service spokesman told AAP.
Residents of 20 homes in three streets at Marrickville were evacuated at 10am because of severe flash flooding.
Motorists were rescued from cars caught in flooding at Rossmore, Austral and Campbelltown.
NRMA spokesman Peter Khoury said patrols had responded to about 1000 breakdown calls this morning, double the usual morning average.
"There are considerable delays of between 2½ to 3 hours across Sydney for people broken down in the wet," he said.
"Emergency calls are given priority and we rescued a baby locked in a car in Hurstville about half an hour ago. Substantial road closures across Sydney are making it harder to get to broken down vehicles so we are asking people to remain patient and stay off the roads if possible."
Flights from Sydney Airport were delayed or cancelled and a Qantas plane bound for Sydney was forced to divert to Newcastle.
Trains on the Airport and East Hills and Olympic Park railway lines were suspended about 9.30am because of water on the tracks.
Flooded rail lines between Bexley North and Bardwell Park stations. Photo: Alan Lee
Commuters suffered major delays on seven of Sydney's 16 main railway lines, including the Eastern Suburbs, Bankstown, Inner West, Airport, South, North Shore, Western, Olympic Park and Northern lines.
Banksia station was shut while dozens of others suffered flooding, particularly in subway and underpass areas.
Twitter became a popular way for some commuters to share their comments and images, with a 200 per cent increase in wet-weather-related comments on Twitter in the past 24 hours, social media intelligence company SR7 said.
There were approximately 70 tweets per minute and about 16,800 tweets between 7.30am and 11.30am about the rainy conditions in Sydney, SR7 added.
Ausgrid said power was cut to about 300 homes in 50 locations in Sydney.
"The majority of jobs involve individual properties where tree branches may have come into contact with the service wire that connects customers with the electricity network," the company said in a statement.
Fire and Rescue NSW said 250 firefighters from more than 50 fire stations responded to dozens of incidents across the city.
Emergency services were watching the Georges River, with flooding expected at Liverpool and Milperra.
The river was expected to peak at 2.3 metres about 11am in Liverpool and two metres at noon at Milperra.
Meanwhile, a policeman was lucky to avoid serious injury when he fell down a mountain in NSW's southern highlands.
The 40-year-old male sergeant was sent to Moss Vale Road on Cambewarra Mountain, in Nowra, about 12.30am to help the SES deal with a fallen tree.
The officer was standing by the side of the road when the surface gave way, sending him plummeting down the side of the 650-metre high mountain.
His fall was halted by vines about 30 metres down and he was taken to Shoalhaven Hospital in a stable condition.
Elsewhere, residents in south-west and central west NSW continue to suffer from major flooding.
The area around Griffith, in the state's southern Riverina region, and Forbes in the central west will be the main focus for emergency services today, with substantial flooding continuing in both.
An SES spokesman said 120 properties were flooded in Beelbangera, just outside Griffith, overnight into Thursday.
The Lachlan River system, around Forbes, is expected to peak at about 10.65 metres on Thursday evening, potentially causing more flooding.
Flooding has eased slightly in Wagga Wagga but about 600 people in the city's north and a number in neighbouring Gumly Gumly, are still unable to return to their homes because of inundations.
Delays continue to trains across the CityRail network this afternoon due to flooding. Frequent services are operating but they are not to timetable. Passengers are advised to listen to announcements and check indicator boards at stations.
Trains remain suspended on the Olympic Park Line between Lidcombe and Olympic Park. A replacement bus service is operating and passengers can also use their train tickets to catch Sydney Buses services bewteen Strathfield and Olympic Park.
Banksia Station has been reopened after being closed earlier today due to flooding.
M90 buses to Liverpool are disrupted due to flooding on Newbridge Road, Chipping Norton. A shuttle bus service is operating between Liverpool Station and Nuwarra Road, Milperra as well as between Henry Lawson Drive and Burwood Station.
Route 901 and 902 buses are unable to access Holsworthy Station and are terminating on Macarthur Drive. Route 902X has been suspended due to flooding.
Veolia Route 904 services are not operating, with the shopper shuttle taking passengers to Carramar Station.
Buses are replacing ferries between Parramatta and Rydalmere until the end of the day due to Parramatta Weir overflowing.
Palm Beach ferry is not operating to Ettalong and Wagstaff due to large swells and extreme wind conditions. The ferry is operating between Palm Beach and Patonga to an amended timetable.
10.38am: AAP is reporting that about 120 millimetres of rain has fallen on parts of the CBD this morning, with the Bureau of Meteorology's Observatory Hill weather station recording its highest daily rainfall total since 2007. In the city's west, 146mm fell on Merrylands.
In the latest road closures, police are now advising motorists to avoid Qantas Drive at Mascot where there is a large amount water flooding northbound lanes.
But some refused to let the rain dampen their morning. Reader Aidan Keogh sent in this photo of his father Brian walking the family dog, Gerard, in Earlwood this morning:
10.23am: Optus says the wet weather in Sydney and the floods across NSW have had no impact on its networks.
"We have our mobile satellites on standby but have not yet had to use them,'' a spokeswoman told smh.com.au in an email statement.
Telstra said in a statement that its telecommunications infrastructure has been affected in areas such as Wagga Wagga, Yenda, Glenfield, and Griffith. A Telstra spokeswoman said the telco was "facing a huge challenge to fully recover all communications services due to the recent severe weather".
"Field crews are working around the clock, in conjunction with Emergency Services, to restore service. Loss of power and safe access to sites are the main issues facing our teams," she said.
Meanwhile, it looks like there are more evacuations, this time in Marrickville:
#FRNSW crews have evacuated residents from 3 streets in Marrickville due to severe flooding of houses & cars, no reports of injury— Fire & Rescue NSW (@FireRescueNSW) March 7, 2012
10.16am: Riverwood station is just one broadcasting major delays for commuters. Reader David Shi took this photo:
10.09am: Herald online reporter Amy McNeilage writes that The SES has already received more than 200 calls for assistance this morning, and the number is expected to continue to rise.
An SES spokesman has confirmed emergency crews have been sent out to a house in Randwick after a small tornado hit a wall. Thankfully the property avoided any further damage beyond the wall.
10.06am: Here's some more flood craziness via Twitter. At least with the trains, buses and roads all stuffed, people have plenty of time to attend to their mobile phones:
Flooding at Warwick farm this morning up to our thighs. Trackwork had to be abandoned early. twitter.com/Gabrielle_2738…— Gabby Englebrecht (@Gabrielle_27386) March 7, 2012
Sydney Weather this morning. Just lovely. Elizabeth st on its way to flooding. twitter.com/glav/status/17…— Paul Glavich (@glav) March 7, 2012
Flash Flooding on the way to the office this morning. Only just got int. Nightmare. yfrog.com/eskplrsj— Mark (@p2pMarkSmith) March 7, 2012
10.04am: The situation at Lewisham train station is not much better this morning. Wendy Frew writes:
"This is Lewisham station at about 9.30am this morning. Water is above the knees of average sized person. No access to the platform but trains were running. I have never seen this happen at this station before."
A spokesman said the majority of jobs involved individual properties where tree branches may have come into contact with the service wire that connects customers with the electricity network.
Other problems with the network this morning include a fault on a local underground cable at Silverwater and a fallen tree on a powerline at Chatswood.
9.54am: In case you wanted more evidence of the scale of the disruption this morning, here's Wentworth Park Road in Glebe thanks to reader Edward Ryan:
And some more evidence of the chaos facing rail commuters this morning. Here is what commuters faced at Summer Hill station:
And this is the station facing Herald deputy arts editor Wendy Frew at Summer Hill:
9.46am: The SES flood rescue team is responding to two calls for help from motorists trapped in their vehicles in Burwood and Wiley Park. Also here's another amazing shot from Herald photographer Nick Moir, who is getting increasingly soggy in his determination to capture the weather in all its glory:
9.41am: If you are commuting around Wollongong this morning, we are getting reports there has been a landslip on Kiama Bends on the northbound side of the road, which is impacting traffic on one lane.
TRAFFIC - Landslip on Kiama Bends... just happened... on the northbound side of the road, impacting on one lane,... fb.me/1pK2YADSO— 973 ABC Illawarra (@973illawarra) March 7, 2012
9.31am: It's not much of a visit to Sydney for the passengers of the biggest cruise liner to ever dock in the city. Thanks to reader Shane Joseph for the photo:
9.16am: Public transport is really struggling this morning in the face of the wet weather. Here's the latest wrap:
Services have been suspended on the Airport and East Hills Line between Turrella and Kingsgrove in both directions due to water over the train lines around Bardwell Park Station. There are no replacement bus services.
Customers travelling between the City and Campbelltown should travel on the South Line via Granville. CityRail is recommending travellers delay their journey or make alternative arrangements. There is no forecast of when the line can be reopened.
Trains have been suspended on the Olympic Park Line between Lidcombe and Olympic Park in both directions due to heavy rainfall causing closure of the line at Olympic Park. Buses have been arranged to convey customers between Lidcombe and Olympic Park and return. Sydney buses are recognising tickets for travel in both directions between Strathfield and Olympic Park.
Banksia Station has closed due to flooding. A shuttle bus service will operate between Banksia and Rockdale for customers travelling to or from Banksia. Trains are delayed across the Suburban Rail Network due to various incidents caused by weather conditions.
Buses are delayed across the network and some diversions are in place due to flooding on selected routes, this includes Parramatta Road services, buses heading over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Anzac Bridge and along Anzac Parade as well as all other major roads in Sydney.
Route 901 and 902 buses are unable to get to Holsworthy Station due to wet weather conditions. Services are terminating on Macarthur Drive. Route 902 express buses through Sandy Point and Leisure Point have been cancelled this morning due to flooding in the area.
Ferries services are delayed across the network due to wet weather conditions. Ferry services using the Rose Bay wharf may experience minor delays during morning services this week due to high tides. Buses are replacing ferries between Parramatta and Rydalmere due to flooding at Parramatta Wharf.
Palm Beach ferry will not operate to Ettalong and Wagstaff today due to large swells and extreme wind conditions. The ferry will operate between Palm Beach and Patonga to an amended timetable. Garden Island Wharf will be closed until 2pm due to a private event.
Sydney buses are recognising CityRail tickets for travel btwn Strathfield and Olympic Park as well as between Lidcombe and Olympic Park.— 131500 trains (@131500trains) March 7, 2012
9.11am: We are now being told the Parramatta Road in Leichhardt has been closed in both directions due to flooding. The Transport Management Centre has advised to stay away from the area. Local diversions are in place but traffic in the area is heavy.
9.04am: Here are the latest list of road closures:
- Sir John Young Crescent has been closed in both directions near Art Gallery Road at Woolloomooloo due to flooding. As a result of the closure of Sir John Young Crescent the ramp to the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Cross City Tunnel is closed.
- Motorists are also advised to exercise caution on Victoria Road at Rozelle with flooding affecting traffic heading away from the city.
- The Wakehurst Parkway is closed at Oxford Falls.
- Joadja Road is closed between the M7 and Hoxton Park Road at Prestons.
- Heathcote Road is closed near Infantry Parade at Holsworthy and also closed at Deadmans Creek at Sandy Point and between the Princes Highway and New Illawarra Road.
- Douglas Park Road is closed at The Causeway at Douglas Park.
- Bexley Road is closed at Wolli Creek.
- Canal Road is closed at Ricketty Street in St Peters.
- The Audley Weir is closed.
- Glenfield Road is closed between Old Glenfield Road and Cambridge Avenue at Glenfield.
- The Hume Highway is closed at Governor Macquarie Drive at Warwick Farm, motorists are being diverted into Governor Macquarie Drive.
- Camden Valley Way is closed at Cowpasture Road at Leppington
Motorists are being urged to avoid these and any other flooded areas, and drive with extra care this morning. Headlights should be turned on and extra space should be left between vehicles on slippery roads.
And some bleeding obvious advice via Twitter from the Rural Fire Service:
If you're driving in #sydney please slow down. Many roads flooded due to heavy rain.— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) March 7, 2012
8.59am: Good luck to all the rail commuters out there. Particularly the poor souls trying to negotiate the flooded Lewisham train station, as this photo from reader Ana Gacis attests:
8.52am: The situation may seem bleak, but the Bureau of Meteorology is predicting that conditions should be easing in Sydney by midday, according to the latest weather warning. It's hard to believe looking out the window at the moment...
8.49am: A police officer was lucky to escape serious injury after plunging 30 metres down the side of a mountain south of Sydney.
AAP reports the 40-year-old male sergeant was sent to Moss Vale Road on Cambewarra Mountain, in Nowra, about 12.30am today to help the State Emergency Service (SES) deal with a fallen tree.
The tree toppled over in high winds and heavy rain which lashed the region overnight.
The sergeant was standing by the side of the road when it gave way, sending him plummeting down the side of the 650-metre high mountain. His fall was only halted by vines about 30 metres down. Emergency services rescued him and he was taken to Shoalhaven Hospital in a stable condition.
One lane of Moss Vale Road was closed and drivers are urged to avoid the area.
8.43am: Photographer Nick Moir is out in the weather and has already captured some evidence of the chaos out there.
8.42am: AAP reports two motorists were rescued after four cars were caught in flash flooding at Rossmore, in the city's south-west. Other motorists were rescued in Campbelltown and Austral.
8.30am: Sydney Airport has just advised it is experiencing delays and diversions due to the heavy rain and strong winds lashing the city this morning. Passengers are being advised to contact individual airlines for information about their flights.
For the latest flight information, go to www.sydneyairport.com.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects the widespread downpour to exceed falls of 100mm, reaching 150mm to 200mm in Sydney's south.
Damaging winds are also predicted to hit the state's coast today and heavy rainfall is likely to cause localised flooding.
The heaviest rainfall has hit the state's south coast, with more than 100mm falling at Lake Conjola near Ulladulla since 9am yesterday. The highest in Sydney has been at Merrylands West, which has received 135mm, and Lucas Heights, which has seen 124mm. A minor flood warning has been issued for the Georges River.
A flood warning has been issued for the Georges River. With rain likely to continue into the afternoon, minor flooding is expected at Liverpool and Milperra this morning.
Flash flooding has inundated roads across Sydney and the RTA is urging commuters to drive carefully this morning.
Camden Valley Way is blocked off at Leppington, various roads are closed in the Hills district, including the Rouse Hill Road causeway, and Heathcote Road remains shut between the Princess Highway and New Illawarra Road.
Traffic lights are out in areas of North Parramatta and Penrith due to power outages.
An earlier crash on the approach to the Anzac Bridge appears to have been cleared, and traffic flows have resumed.
Rain and thunderstorms overnight have caused storm damage and brought down trees, with the State Emergency Service receiving 159 calls this morning. The greatest call volume has come from the Sutherland Shire.
Fifteen to 20 people have been evacuated from the Scalabrini Retirement Village in Austral. The SES was told a nearby creek had burst its banks and water was entering the premises. A person at the village said the residents were still in-house but had left their rooms. In Minto, in southwest Sydney, a roof collapsed at a residential property.
Beachgoers are being urged to stay well away with dangerous surf conditions set to persist into the evening. The average wave height in Sydney this morning is three metres, with the largest reaching six metres.
The severe weather is expected to ease in Sydney by midday and on the south coast later in the day.
The SES has issued a flood evacuation warning for areas downstream of Jerrara Dam near Jamberoo. The dam, which is west of Kiama, is currently at Amber Alert level and is close to flowing over.
Meanwhile, there is major flooding at the Darling, Lachlan and Murrumbidgee rivers, with water expected to continue flowing for days and weeks to come.
The Central West town of Forbes has been split in three and 1000 residents were evacuated from their homes yesterday. The Lachlan River is expected to peak at 10.65 metres this evening.
The Murrumbidgee River is currently peaking downstream from Wagga Wagga and is likely to persist for the next three to four weeks.
The BOM predicts the Murrumbidgee flooding will almost reach the levels of the 1974 flood event.
The SES has issued evacuation orders for towns surrounding Griffith in southwest NSW. The Griffith CBD is not expected to be inundated but affected areas include Beelbangera, Mirool Creek, North Yenda, Widgelli and Yoogali.