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Flash flooding and rescues in Sydney, Illawarra as parts of South Coast cop 300mm of rain

(ABC News) -- A storm that dumped more than 300 millimetres of rain on some NSW South Coast towns overnight has moving through Sydney this afternoon, prompting dozens of flood rescues.
The Bureau of Meteorology indicated Greenwell Point in the Shoalhaven received 368mm of rain since 9:00am yesterday, including 177mm in one hour.

This unattended car washed ashore after being carried into the sea at Stanwell Park.

Bellambi in Wollongong’s north received 116mm since 9:00am with 96mm falling in one hour. The system hit Wollongong and Shellharbour at about lunchtime and caused chaos with roads and school closures and over 500 calls to the State Emergency Service for assistance.
The bureau has issued several detailed thunderstorm warnings for parts of Sydney throughout the afternoon.
The latest advice at 5:55pm has warned that while severe thunderstorms have temporarily eased, the “redevelopment of severe thunderstorms remains possible”. The SES has carried out 31 flood rescues across the Illawarra and Greater Sydney regions.
“There were a number of flood rescues in Unanderra where people drove into flooded water,” said Sharon Fox from the SES.
“There were a couple of occasions where schools needed assistance with getting children out.
“They weren’t necessarily life-threatening but there was certainly a large amount of water that inundated some of the school areas.”
In the southern Sydney suburb of Miranda, several cars were inundated after heavy rain caused flash flooding in a matter of minutes. Bystanders said some drivers were forced to escape from their vehicles and find higher ground.
“My car, which was parked here and I don’t usually park it here it’s going to be a write-off,” James Martin said.
“That’s hard … especially because I don’t have insurance.”
Passengers flying in and out of Sydney airport should expect delays after the day of wild weather. A Sydney Airport spokesperson says some services are experiencing diversions due to the storm activity.
The spokesperson encouraged travellers to check with their airline regarding the status of their flight.
There are significant traffic delays on the main thoroughfare between Wollongong and Sydney as one of two southbound lanes on the Princes Highway at Waterfall is closed.
The Seacliff Bridge at Coafcliff is also closed due to a bus that is stuck and flooding at the Audley Weir in the Royal National Park has closed the road in both directions. South Coast trains are also not running between Waterfall and Kiama, slowing the commute from Sydney as passengers rely on buses.
A number of schools were forced to close including Kanahooka High School and Albion Park High, with Woonona High School students evacuated.
Greenwell Point Bowling Club greenkeeper Craig Lurton said he tipped 251mm out of the gauge this morning.
“They’re [the greens] underwater we’re going to need flippers today,” he said.
“I live in Nowra, so I was unaware of it — we only had a couple of millimetres in there.” Acting SES zone commander Tom Jory said overnight call-outs were mainly at Greenwell Point and Culburra Beach.
“One of those jobs is a nursing home where we are working with the RFS,” he said. “We have been out there a couple of times overnight to try and solve some localised flooding that they are having.”
Further north, Foxground received 125mm and Kiama 107mm overnight.

(Latest Update Februay 10, 2023)

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