Tuesday, December 6

Sydney marks its wettest year on record, smashing past 1950 high-water mark with three months to spare | New South Wales

Sydney is officially experiencing its wettest year on record as widespread drenching rain puts many parts of western New South Wales on flood alert.

The previous annual record of 2,194mm of rain, which had stood since 1950, was broken at 12.30pm on Thursday after 27.2mm of rain fell at Sydney’s Observatory Hill Bureau of Meteorology station since 9am.

The bulk of the rain fell in about 90 minutes, beginning at 11am.

With nearly three months remaining in 2022 and the declaration of a third consecutive La Niña by the BoM in September, more rain is expected to fall before the end of the year, further inflating the record.

Sydney had its wettest July on record this year after only two weeks, passing the 1950 record of 336.1mm on the way to a total of 404mm.

March broke a 1942 record of 521.4mm when 554mm fell.

The ongoing deluge will see rivers on and west of the great dividing range hit by moderate to major flooding, affecting towns including Tamworth, Dubbo and Bathurst.

There was a severe weather warning for heavy rain and thunderstorms across inland NSW, with no reprieve in sight this week.

Much of the state were set to see showers and thunderstorms on Thursday afternoon, with the south-west set for severe storms, heavy rainfall, possible hail and damaging winds.

The State Emergency Service’s shift to the Australian Warning System last month is seeing its first test, with advice and watch and act warnings issued around the state.

More than 40 warnings were current, with particular concerns about flooding in the communities of Forbes, Warren, Dubbo, Nyngan and Bathurst, the SES assistant commander, Sean Kearns, said.

“We are also watching this weather system as it may move across metropolitan areas on the east coast,” he told Nine’s Today program.

The flood recovery minister, Steph Cooke, said flood threats across the state had more than 500 SES volunteers in the field.

“Our landscapes are entirely saturated, our dams are basically full and the river systems, those channels, are also full,” she said.

Farmers were concerned the latest deluge would destroy another crop and graziers were warned to shelter their stock from the wind and rain.

“There is a risk of losses of lambs and sheep exposed to these conditions,” the BoM warned.

Many NSW towns were dealing with renewed flooding, including the town of Warren, where major flooding was occurring again on the Macquarie River.

“It hasn’t been hammering with rain, but we have had such a lot of rain consistently, basically since Christmas, that it just doesn’t have a chance to dry out,” Macquarie Caravan Park owner Carolyn Monkley said.

“Rainfall here is totally different to rainfall on the coast. A couple of inches out here makes it very very … soggy.”

Other towns of concern included Condobolin, Nyngan, Cobar, Bourke, Wanaaring and Brewarrina.

On Thursday flood warnings were current across inland catchments including the Namoi, Macquarie, Bogan, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, Murray, Edward, Culgoa, Birrie, Bokhara, Warrego, Paroo, Barwon, Darling, Macintyre and Snowy rivers.

Minor flooding was predicted on Thursday in western Sydney’s Hawkesbury-Nepean region.

Coastal catchments including the Hunter, Hawkesbury and Colo rivers, and Wollombi Brook, were being monitored, with rises expected.


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