Heavy Rain Drowns out NSW Fires, Official Says City Roads May Flood

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.
February 7, 2020 Updated: February 7, 2020

Heavy rain across much of NSW is “breaking the back” of the state’s horror bushfire season but also keeping emergency services busy with flooding along the coast.

Up to 300 millimetres has been recorded in some parts of the north coast with similar totals expected in the Sydney basin by the end of the weekend.

Bureau of Meteorology acting NSW manager Jane Golding says rain could cause roads to be flooded in the city, but much less will fall in the state’s drought-ravaged west.

“The bulk of the rain does look like it will affect the coastal ranges and the eastern side of the divide, some showers will make it across but we’re not expecting the same flood-producing rain,” Golding told reporters on Friday.

People commute to work
People commute to work on Feb. 07, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

The NSW State Emergency Service has responded to 683 jobs across the state since the wet weather arrived on Wednesday.

In the northern rivers region, a car was washed off a road in Glenreagh, and in Tyagarah two people had to be rescued from a caravan due to rising floodwaters.

“Most of the damage so far is the leaking roofs, damaged properties, fallen trees and stranded motorists, some of whom have attempted to drive through flooded areas,” SES commissioner Carlene York said on Friday.

The SES will be moving resources down into the Illawarra and the South Coast over the weekend as the weather system moves south.

“The fire damaged areas will bring extra risks as the heavy water and floods move through (with) more likelihood of fallen trees and more run-off,” York said.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says the rain is “breaking the back” of the horror bushfire season.

“The rain is good for business and farms as well as being really good for quenching some of these fires we’ve been dealing with for many, many months,” the commissioner told ABC TV on Friday.

“We don’t want to see lots of widespread damage and disruption from flooding, but it is certainly a welcome change to the relentless campaign of hot, dry weather.”

There are currently 40 fires burning across NSW.

The Bureau of Meteorology on Friday morning issued a severe weather warning stretching from Lismore to Wollongong.

Marine wind and surf warnings are also in place for the Macquarie coast, Coffs coast, Hunter coast, Sydney coast and Illawarra coast for Friday and Saturday.

Flood warnings are currently in place for the Bellinger, Kalang, Orara and Paroo rivers.

Australian Associated Press is an Australian news agency.