South East Queensland on high alert as heavy rain lashes region

Katie Ramirez
March 23, 2021

Nineteen evacuation orders have so far been issued with "potentially more to come", Berejiklian said, urging people under evacuation warnings to be ready and have their bags packed in case they are told to leave their homes.

Australia was set on Monday to evacuate thousands more people from suburbs in Sydney's west, battered by the worst flooding in 60 years, with torrential rains expected to continue for another day or two.

"I hate to say this again to all our citizens of the state, but it's not going to be an easy week for us", NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told a televised briefing.

Below, photos and videos that show some of the devastating damage caused by the recent floods.

In recent years, climate change has been cited as a likely reason for a growing number of extreme weather events hitting the country.

Roads and tracks used by freight trucks have closed across the region as Mount Dare recorded 118 millimetres of rain in 24 hours, while Moomba and Oodnadatta recorded 54 millimetres and 32 millimetres, respectively.

In Sydney's vast Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley, swollen rivers were expected to peak at levels not seen since 1961, after the Warragamba Dam, the city's main drinking water source, spilled over Saturday afternoon.

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Hundreds of residents in Sydney have been forced to flee their homes as fast-rising floods engulf the area. "It can make you feel like you're at breaking point but know that we are thinking of you".

Australia plans to deliver the first vaccine doses to nearly six million people over the next few weeks.

The weather has impacted 207 public schools, the NSW government said, prompting 151 to close, 20 to open with minimal supervision and 36 to operate with some damage reported.

Insurers had received more than 5,000 claims in the past few days, he added.

Large parts of the east coast will get more heavy rain from Monday, brought by a combination of a tropical low over the northern part of Western Australia and a coastal trough off New South Wales, said Jane Golding, a weather official.

Health officials have said the rain and floods will delay the already halting roll-out of coronavirus vaccines in Sydney and surrounding areas.

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