Sydney residents asked to evacuate homes amid heavy rains
The city of Sydney in southeastern Australia received torrential rain on Thursday, as swollen rivers caused flooding and threatened homes.
Sydney already reached its annual average rainfall in the first three months of 2022, a spokesperson from the Bureau of Meteorology told broadcaster 7News.
Which areas are affected?
With rising water levels, residents in the city's south and southwestern suburbs were asked to evacuate for safety. The situation is especially dangerous in the southern suburbs of Woronora and Bonnet Bay.
New South Wales Emergency Services issued warnings for heavy rains in the southern and central parts of the state.
"We have seen exceptionally sharp, short bursts of rain that have created significant flash flooding events around parts of the Illawarra," New South Wales State Emergency Service Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin told reporters.
"We ask the community to continue to be vigilant. This is a highly dynamic situation. These events are moving exceptionally quickly," he added.
Authorities also warned of unstable ground and overflowing dams.
"The ground is saturated, rivers are full, the dams are at capacity," Dean Story from the New South Wales State Emergency Service told the dpa news agency.
The rains are expected to slow down over the weekend and pick up again from Tuesday.
State emergency services said they had so far responded to more than 680 calls for help from people affected by the weather.
Extreme weather in Australia
A month ago, Australia's east coast was hit by severe flooding. The states of New South Wales and Queensland were hit the hardest.
The historic flooding destroyed many homes and buildings, and killed more than 20 people. Meteorologists said it was the wettest start to the year in Sydney since weather records began in 1858.
Australia has been particularly affected by extreme weather conditions over recent years. In January, many parts of the country faced a sweltering heat wave with temperatures of more than 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in western regions.
The extreme weather is driven by the La Nina weather system, with climate change worsening its impacts.
tg/sms (dpa, Reuters)