Weather QLD, NSW: Warragamba Dam to spill as heavy rain hits Australia’s east coast

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A deadly deluge battering Australia’s east coast could cause Sydney’s Warragamba Dam to fill to capacity and overflow, with the wild weather causing major delays to the city’s train network.

A major rain event is unfolding across Queensland and NSW, with two weather systems expected to prompt flood warnings across both states.

Heavy rainfall of up to 300mm is expected to fall in southeast Queensland and eastern NSW on Friday and Saturday.

Steve Bernasconi from the Bureau of Meteorology said Sydney had received more than 100mm of rain in less than 24 hours, with most of it falling on Friday morning.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the Warragamba Dam, 65 km west of Sydney is currently sitting at more than 96 per cent of its supply capacity.

“We require about 90mm of rain to fill [the dam] … we’re expecting 100 to 150mm of rainfall over that catchment as a result of this event,” he said.

The Premier said the dam will likely spill on Monday as a result.

Water NSW has also taken to X, formerly Twitter, to issue a warning.

“Based on the developing weather event and BOM forecasting moderate to heavy rainfall across catchments, Warragamba Dam will probably fill to capacity over the weekend,” the warning reads.

Hawkesbury Mayor Sarah McMahon told the Today Show she was “very concerned” about the dam spilling.

“As a council, we have always recently supported the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall,” she said on Friday morning.

“So to have the new Labor state government a year ago when they were elected, remove that flood mitigation option off the table, has been devastating for many in our community.”

Meanwhile, Sydney’s train network is wreaking havoc, with damaged equipment at Redfern causing major delays across the network.

Commuters using the Northern, Western and North Shore line have been warned: “trips may take longer than normal and stops may change at short notice”.

NSW SES has received 550 calls for help within the last 24 hours and undertaken seven flood rescues.

NSW SES Commissioner Carlene York told media that resources, vessels and high clearance vehicles have been positioned to help communities that may be affected by high rainfall and storms, but urged residents to take the necessary steps to keep themselves safe.

“Really important that people keep themselves safe and also that you look after yourselves and family and make sure that we don’t have to send our volunteers out to help you and put their lives at risk,” she said.

Ms York said residents should ensure their gutters have been cleared and items within their property are tied down.

She also warned motorists to stay away from flood waters, noting only a small amount of water can move a vehicle or truck.

“The message to the community is, if you see a flooded road, don’t drive through it and take a longer way around because it’s better to get to your destination safely than put you or your family or other members of the car at risk by going in,” she said.

“It is probably the most guaranteed way to put yourself in harm’s danger and you could lose your own life.”

The dangerous weather battering the east coast has already claimed the life of a Queensland man as the wild weather extends across two states.

Grandfather Peter Wells has been identified as the Greenbank local who died in flash flooding on Thursday.

The 71-year-old was driving his ute on private property when his car was swept into floodwaters on Begley Road about 5.20am.

His body was found near his car after police were called to the property to conduct a welfare check.

Friday is anticipated to be the most “impactful day of the combined system’s life”, according to Weatherzone.

The dangerous weather conditions are being caused by the meeting of cool moisture from the south and the north’s tropical moisture.

This could lead to a “black nor’easter”, a phenomenon where dark clouds of rain form, causing heavy rainfall and dangerous winds.

Widespread falls of 50 to 100mm are likely to batter Brisbane and regions down to the NSW South Coast, before the system moves south towards Victoria and eastern Tasmania over the weekend.

A severe weather warning remains in place for much of the NSW coast, from Newcastle to Merimbula.

Sydney, the Blue Mountains and Illawarra could be hit with falls exceeding 200 to 300mm, with the possibility for 80 to 150mm of rainfall within six hours.

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning heavy rainfall, which may lead to “dangerous and life threatening flash flooding” is possible between the Blue Mountains and Narooma from Friday evening into Saturday evening.

Flood warnings remain in place for large regions of NSW including, Sydney, the Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Tempe and Camden as well as in multiple rivers across Queensland, including the Diamantina, Leichhardt, Flinders, and Norman.

Those in high rainfall areas are urged not to drive, ride or walk through floodwaters and keep clear of creeks and storm drains.

It will be a wet weekend for Victoria, with the Bureau forecasting a high chance of showers in Melbourne for the majority of the weekend and into next week. Despite the rainfall, Melbourne will escape the worst of the weather.

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