Sydney floods: Warnings of more deluge with major dam spills

Australian authorities have warned that floodwaters are expected to rise in Sydney after heavy rain on Friday caused flash flooding in parts of Australia's second-largest city.

Heavy rain fell on parts of the city for 24 hours, forcing thousands to evacuate the outskirts of the city.

The rain also caused the city's main water source, the Warragamba Dam, to leak two days earlier than expected.

Residents living below the dam have been warned to expect more flooding.

The dam began leaking on Saturday morning, and has been pumping the equivalent of 80,000 Olympic swimming pools downstream every hour since then, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The water level in the dam is expected to reach its peak at midnight on Saturday local time (13:00 GMT), according to officials. But some residents have been warned of further flood risks because most of the water from the dam has not yet reached flood-prone areas of Sydney.

“We've been out with the community to let them know what's going to happen and make sure they're prepared,” New South Wales State Emergency Service Commissioner Carlene York told reporters.

“We don't think this water is impacting a significant number of people in those areas but certainly rural farmland, livestock, families, businesses… We have to be aware over the next couple of days that the water will continue to flow down at a high level in those river systems.”

WaterNSW chief executive Andrew George said there were also water leaks from other dams, including Tallowa Dam on the Shoalhaven River and the Blue Mountains Dam. Leakage is expected from three other urban dams, he said, according to 9News.

The storm dumped a month's worth of rain on Sydney on Friday, prompting authorities to issue emergency evacuation warnings for several low-lying areas of the city, including Richmond and Windsor.

“Although the skies look blue across Sydney at the moment and the rain emergency appears to be easing, it is important to note that flood levels on some rivers, particularly in western Sydney, are continuing to rise and this presents a risk,” the NSW Premier said. Wells, Chris Means, told reporters on Saturday: “For some communities.”

The New South Wales State Emergency Service said that more than 150 people were rescued from floods on Saturday, adding that 72 rescue operations had been carried out in Sydney.

A man was found dead in the water near a reserve in Penrith, west of Sydney, on Saturday. New South Wales Police said it was not clear if his death was related to the storm.

Thousands were left without electricity.

Many train services around Sydney have been halted due to flooding on the tracks while many roads have also been closed.

The only road to the Megalong Valley in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney, has been cut off by a large landslide caused by wet weather.

“The damage is so massive that we couldn't even get people out, let alone vehicles,” he told ABC Radio in Sydney.

Pictures also show destroyed homes in the city of Wollongong, south of the state capital.

Flood warnings were also issued in Queensland, with residents advised to avoid non-essential travel.

Image source, Dean Lewis/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

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Part of a house was washed away in Mount Keira, Wollongong, south of Sydney

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