Weather NSW, Qld: Rain eases in Sydney but river levels rise prompting flood warnings

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Rain has eased but threats of floodwaters continue to grow with thousands of Sydneysiders on alert as river levels continue to rise, prompting multiple evacuation notices.

Communities in Sydney’s north and west remain isolated after the “dangerous and life-threatening” weather event dropped more than 180mm of rain in just one night.

Major flooding risks have eased for residents along the Hawkesbury River, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, but the NSW State Emergency Service issued multiple evacuation notices in the early hours of Sunday morning.

NSW Premier on Sunday said he believes the weather event will soon be declared as a disaster.

“We expect a natural disaster declaration will be declared later this morning,” he told media on Sunday.

“This means federal and state funds will flow to local councils as well as communities that have been knocked over.”

Parts of the state were hit with up to 180mm of rain in just one night, with fears the Warragamba Dam is still set to overflow for more than a week.

Floodwaters continue to rage in North Richmond, with the Bells Line of Road underwater and Richmond Bridge closed.

The Hawkesbury River reached a peak of 10.52 metres overnight but is currently sitting at about 9.35 metres a Windsor.

A number of emergency warnings remain in place, with 32 alerts still active affecting up to 4000 residents in low lying parts of Freemans Reach, Cattai, Pitt Town, Ebenezer and Pitt Town Bottoms.

Senior meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology Sarah Scully told the Today Show an “enormous” amount of water is continuing to make its way downstream.

“We are expecting there to be peaks in the lower catchments throughout this morning,” she said on Sunday.

Evacuation centres remain open in Penrith and Richmond.

The SAS issued warnings to Sackville residents about 10.30pm Saturday, while parts of Richmond Lowlands were ordered to leave by midnight.

Residents in Freemans Reach were issued the warning at 1am, while Agnes Banks, Bligh Park and Angus were all told to leave by 2am.

The SAS responded to 146 rescues overnight, with motorists continuing to attempt to drive through floodwaters.

NSW Police on Saturday confirmed a body had been found in Western Sydney floodwaters.

Emergency services rushed to King St at Penrith about 7.45am Saturday after a member of the public reported a man’s body in water near a reserve.

A statement from NSW Police said officers from Nepean Police Area Command established a crime scene.

“An investigation into the man’s death is underway and a report will be prepared for the Coroner,” the statement said.

Residents in Wollongong’s surrounding suburbs were hit with their worst flooding since 1998, with the region hit with 150mm of rain in just six hours.

One couple in an Airbnb in Figtree are lucky to be alive after the accommodation they were in was picked up by floodwaters and moved to a stormwater drain.

Meanwhile, the deadly deluge is continuing to hit northern NSW and parts of Queensland, wreaking havoc on schools, roads and flights.

Constant rain is set to hit Brisbane, the Gold Coast and northern parts of NSW on Sunday.

Brisbane is facing a grey day as a low lying cloud and constant rain hit the city.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned heavy rain of up to 60mm in isolated areas could prompt flash flooding.

Authorities are warning motorists to re-evaluate travel plans as more storms could lead to dangerous conditions on the roads.

A storm system is predicting isolated downpours of up to 100mm in Logan, the Scenic Rim and the Gold Coast on Sunday.

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