Some 18,000 people have been evacuated and authorities say they plan to evacuate thousands more, as heavy rains and flooding continued to pummel parts of Australia's east coast.
The big picture: Rain has relentlessly fallen on much of New South Wales, including state capital Sydney, and southeast Queensland since last Thursday, triggering flash flooding in many regions. A natural disaster has been declared in 16 areas. Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Parliament Monday, "Rains are expected for at least the next 24 and 48 hours."
Many areas across #NSW currently resemble an inland sea. Once the rain stops & the water begins to reside, there will be a massive combined effort to clean up. However until that happens, listen to warnings, follow the @NSWSES advice, look out for family, friends & neighbours. pic.twitter.com/vhDqxkw40E— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) March 22, 2021
The Windsor Bridge is submerged under rising floodwaters of Sydney's Hawkesbury River March 22. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters, "I don't know any time in state history where we have had these extreme weather conditions in such quick succession in the middle of a pandemic." Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
A worker beside a main road inundated by floodwaters in the Richmond suburb of Sydney on March 22. Emergency services have conducted at least 500 rescues. Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images
The overflowing banks of Sydney's Parramatta River on March 22. Photo: Saeed Khan/AFP via Getty Images
Heavy flooding in McGraths Hill, Sydney, on March 22. Photo: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images
Flooded farmland between near Lennox Head, NSW, near the state border with Queensland, on March 22. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images
Surfers take to the water during heavy rains in Byron Bay, NSW, near the Queensland border, on March 21. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images
⚠️ A Severe Weather Warning is current for large parts of the NSW coast and adjacent inland for heavy rain. Please visit...Posted by NSW SES on Sunday, March 21, 2021