The already-saturated Sydney region has yet again been affected by an extreme rainfall event following flooding throughout March. The rain caused evacuation orders and the closures of schools and roads throughout the city.
A deepening trough over the city produced rainfall from Wednesday evening and throughout Thursday. Rain is expected to continue on Friday.
The University of Sydney did not advise students to remain at home. A spokesperson told Honi:
“We’re aware that NSW SES has issued local orders rather than a state-wide stay at home direction, and so we haven’t issued general advice to our community today. As noted previously, we follow SES advice and BOM forecasts to determine when we issue all staff/student communications encouraging our community to stay home if possible. We also advise our community to heed any localised warnings, and to exercise appropriate caution.”
“Students affected by floods and severe weather will not be penalised for non-attendance of any classes.”
The NSW Bureau of Meteorology warned residents of major flooding throughout the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. Flood levels at Menangle, on the Nepean River, exceeded those in March. Major flooding is also likely to occur along the Hawkesbury at North Richmond, with Warragamba Dam spilling.
The SES issued evacuation orders for a number of Sydney suburbs, including parts of Richmond, Camden, Chipping Norton, and Woronora. For some residents, this represents the third evacuation due to flooding in a month.
There have been dozens of rescues and over a thousand calls for assistance, according to the SES.
The Illawarra was also hit hard by the rains, with a number of key roads between Wollongong and Sydney closed due to land slips. Students venturing home from University experienced cancelled trains after the tracks were flooded, and several stations could not be reached by train replacement buses due to landslides.
“Getting home was an absolute nightmare,” said USyd student Anna, who lives in Wollongong and had travelled to university by train to attend class. “I got to Waterfall, got on the bus, and then the bus driver said Bulli Pass was closed. We had to take [a back road] which had a lot of water over the road and minor land slips.”
The NSW Department of Education announced that all schools across the Illawarra would be closed on Friday 8 April due to flooding risks and concerns about school traffic on flooded roads. Many schools sent students home early on Thursday as nearby creeks burst their banks.
Kurnell, in Sydney’s south-east, saw petrol mixing with floodwater after the wastewater pit at the Ampol fuel terminal overflowed. Residents posted videos to social media of a black substance which smelled of petrol bubbling out of their sinks and local drains.
The SES has emphasised the importance of never entering flood water, and has encouraged motorists to exercise caution.