Thousands told to evacuate Sydney during “life-threatening” floods

More than 30,000 residents in Sydney were told to evacuate their homes Monday due to “life-threatening” floods.

Why it matters: Australia is facing its fourth round of flooding in less than a year and a half, per the Associated Press. The flooding has been considered one of the worst rounds of extreme weather for the country’s most populous city in the last 18 months.

Driving the news: A strong storm on the southeast coast of Australia has brought moisture inland, combining with rough seas and high winds, according to the Bureau of Meteorology Australia.

  • More than 1.6 feet of rain has poured over eastern New South Wales during the last 48 hours, CNN reports.
  • Officials reported at least 3 feet of rain after days of torrential rainfall, leading to overflowed dams and broken waterways, per AP.
  • Close to 32,000 people were given evacuation orders and warnings due to the widespread floods, New South Wales state Premier Dominic Perrottet told AP.

What they’re saying: “The latest information we have is that there’s a very good chance that the flooding will be worse than any of the other three floods that those areas had in the last 18 months,” Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said, per AP.

A general view shows a flooded area.
A flooded area in a Sydney suburb. Photo: Saeed Khan / AFP via Getty Images
A general view shows a flooded area in a Sydney suburb.
A flooded area in a Sydney suburb. Photo: Saeed Khan / AFP via Getty Images
A general view shows a submerged road sign.
A submerged road sign. Photo: Saeed Khan / AFP via Getty Images

What we’re watching: Sydney braced for more downpours on Monday with the weather slated to ease on Tuesday, per The Guardian.

The big picture: Flooding in Australia has become the new normal.

  • The country has seen some flooding during the early summer months. But now it’s become commonplace, which has raised questions about how to support communities that feel the brunt of the storms, per CNN.

Thought bubble via Axios’ Andrew Freedman: Heavy precipitation events are a hallmark of climate change, with warming air and sea temperatures boosting the amount of moisture in the atmosphere available for storms to wring out. Numerous studies show clear ties between increased extreme precipitation events worldwide and human-caused climate change.

  • The fact that this is the fourth major flood event in New South Wales, including Sydney, in such a short time illustrates Australia’s vulnerability to such events, as well as the challenges ahead for adapting to the new normal.

Go deeper: Extreme weather outruns the world

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.