Sydney residents told to defer non-essential travel as big wet continues

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Residents in Sydney and the Hunter are being urged to exercise extreme caution as the unseasonal big wet continues through to Wednesday night.

The stormy weather across Sydney eased at dusk, with the Bureau of Meteorology cancelled its severe weather warning for NSW and the ACT.

Earlier in the day, during the worst of the downpour, motorists were told to avoid any non-essential travel after flooding, crashes and fallen trees caused chaos on the roads.

Choppy waters are making for rough ferry trips in Sydney Harbour, with reports passengers are being told to hold on as they cross the heads.

A two car crash on Parramatta Road has caused heavy traffic conditions in Leichhardt at Phillip Street. Motorists should expect delays.

A crash on Victoria Road in West Ryde is also causing delays for eastbound traffic. Motorists should allow extra travel time.

Emergency services are at the scene and have advised motorists to exercise caution.

Two cars were damaged by a fallen tree on Darling Street in Glebe. Resident Nicky Woods, whose car windscreen was smashed, said she heard a “massive crash” from inside her home.

“I was in the kitchen and came running out and then just saw the tree,” she said. “And then I was just like, ‘that’s our car’.”

Another resident, who did not wish to be named, said the tree had been leaning quite severely and that it had been flagged with the local council. “I noticed it got worse recently,” she said.

Traffic lights are flashing on Ocean Street at Wallace Street in Woollahra. Traffic lights are also flashing in Earlwood at Homer Street and Bayview Avenue.

Low-level flooding in and around Sydney has prompted NSW Ambulance to warn motorists to take care, with paramedics called to 100 motor vehicle accidents since Tuesday.

Flooding has closed Wakehurst Parkway, between Oxford Falls and North Narrabeen as well as roads in Rouse Hill, Schofields, Windsor and Cattai.

NSW Ambulance is also urging motorists to take care with low-level flooding in and around Sydney, with paramedics called to 100 motor vehicle accidents since Tuesday.

The Bureau of Meteorology has cancelled the severe weather warning for NSW and the ACT on Wednesday afternoon, saying the immediate threat has passed.

However, rainfall will persist into the evening.

“With the heavy rains predicted to continue, paramedics are calling on people to slow down and take extra care,” executive director service delivery Jamie Vernon said.

State Emergency Services have received over two thousand calls for assistance related to the flooding since Monday morning and have attended 28 flood rescue operations.

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Emergency Services Minister David Elliot said most flood rescues were completely unnecessary as people ignore warnings and travel through floodwaters.

“Despite countless warnings, people are continuing to risk their lives and the lives of volunteers by crossing floodwaters,” Mr Elliott said.

Anyone who ignored the warnings could be fined $400 for negligent driving, he said.

Newcastle has seen its wettest three-day total in January on record, with 200.6mm since Monday 9am. The station opened in 1862.

The SES has received 1400 requests for assistance overnight; the Sydney suburbs of Blacktown and Hornsby as well as the Hunter towns of Newcastle and Maitland are among the worst affected areas.

An evacuation order is in place for parts of the Hunter township of Raymond Terrace.

50 people had evacuated to the Raymond Terrace senior citizens’ centre Wednesday afternoon.

Waters have subsided from the Dungog area and residents have been returning home today after evacuations Tuesday night.

SES volunteers and NSW Fire and Rescue firefighters were doorknocking 30 homes, telling residents they should leave as floodwater from the Hunter River has begun to inundate lower areas of the town.

The SES has also urged people in the Hunter and Sydney metropolitan regions to keep close watch on their children around flooded areas as the heavy rain is forecast to continue until Thursday.

The SES has over 350 volunteers and crew out attending to jobs, while police rescue is helping monitor the safety of residents and patrolling roads.

SES spokeswoman Jacqueline Rose said that motorists can get stuck in floodwaters when navigating unfamiliar roads.

She encouraged motorists to delay travel if possible and to pay attention to live traffic updates and ABC radio warnings to avoid driving into flooded areas.

Police and national park authorities are monitoring camping grounds, saying campers should move to higher ground if danger arises.

source:smh.com.au

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