Australian experts gave out fresh flood warnings and evacuation orders on Tuesday since torrential rains again thumped several parts of the country, destroying homes, roads and livestock. It is seen as the worst downpour in more than half a century.
The national weather agency has announced harsh weather warnings in every mainland state or territory but one, disturbing about 10 million people in the country of 25 million, almost an area the size of Alaska.
“The rain and flood situation does remain dynamic and extremely complex,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison shared with reporters.
No deaths have been reported so far, but thousands of people have been released by emergency services in recent days. About 18,000 people have been evacuated with authorities expecting another 15,000 others to join them.
Images posted on social media revealed entire bridges washed away, stuck animals and submerged homes in New South Wales, the most populous and most impacted state.
One video displayed a container truck hitting into a bridge, leading to structural damage, while another showed a car flounced off a road by intense floodwaters in neighboring Queensland.
“Weather conditions have worsened, and those weather conditions are likely to worsen during the day so many communities will experience increasing heavy rainfall,” remarked NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
The possessor of a restaurant that was submerged on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, 62 kilometers (38 miles) north of Sydney, informed the Australian Broadcasting Corp that he rescued a neighbor’s baby who required medical attention by boat.
“My brother rang and said ‘please get over here, we have to get this baby out’. We got them across the river and to a car,” restaurant owner Darren Osmotherly mentioned.
The Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main water supply, started to overflow on Saturday and was expected to keep doing so for another week. While an year earlier, during drought and bushfires, the same dam fell below half its water catchment, causing severe water restrictions.
Though the weather system is expected to start easing from late Wednesday, experts cautioned affected residents may be unable to return to their homes straightaway as continual rains dump more water in river catchment areas.
Another major impact is seen in coal deliveries to the Port of Newcastle, north of Sydney – the world’s biggest coal export port which had to be halted because of shutting of rail lines.
On Tuesday, the country’s principal independent coal miner, Whitehaven Coal Ltd, told it was forced to stop shiploading at the port because of structural faults, and weather-related port restrictions were slowing ship activities.
The company mentioned road flooding may also obstruct workforce movements and cut its forecast coal sales to a range of 18.5 million to 19 million tonnes, from a range of 19 million to 20 million earlier.