Desperate Search Concludes After Man 'Washed Away In Flood Waters' As Heaviest Rain In Decades Continues To Fall
Police are continuing to investigate after a male passenger was swept away inside his car during horror flooding in Sydney's north.
NSW's State Emergency Services said a man inside a silver mercedes is believed to have been washed off a causeway in Sallaway Road, Galston Gorge in Sydney's north.
Police divers have concluded a search for the man on Monday after they were unable to complete the investigation overnight due to poor weather, a NSW SES spokesperson said.
The man, who is yet to be identified, is believed to have been the sole occupant of the car.
"The conditions last night were particularly unsafe and they are waiting for the conditions to improve to enable them to conduct a thorough search of the area," NSW SES spokesperson Andrew Richards told 10 daily.
A witness spotted the Mercedes being swept away at around 4.30pm on Sunday, NSW police said in a statement on Monday.
"Officers from Kuring-Gai Police Area Command and SES attended the location and conducted a search of the water by boat, but nothing was located," police said.
The rescue operation comes as waterlogged parts of NSW are experiencing the heaviest rainfall in decades, with three days of flash flooding and damaging winds causing commuter chaos across the state.
South of Sydney in Wollongong, residents have been given two hours to evacuate by SES on Monday.
The State Emergency Service warned residents in low lying areas near Lake Illawarra to prepare to evacuate as floodwaters are expected to cut off roads in the next couple of hours.
The Bureau of Meteorology said some coastal areas in Illawarra have had the highest rainfall since 1900, with 700mm of rain falling since Wednesday.
"A preliminary look at those rainfall numbers suggest that they’ve been the highest multi-day figures for the Sydney area since February 1990, when we had ex-tropical cyclone Nancy move over the region," BOM’s manager of NSW/ACT weather services, Jane Golding said.
Golding said heavy rain is falling in such high volumes that it's putting fires out on NSW's south coast.
Since Wednesday, SES has responded to more than 10,000 calls for assistance, with 210 of those being flood-related.
On Sunday night, conditions worsened with the SES receiving at least 2,700 calls for help and 117 calls being flood rescues.
Fire and Rescue NSW said they received 15,000 calls over the weekend -which was more than three times the calls made during the peak of the 19/20 bush fire season.
The storm has also caused major disruptions to Sydney's public transport networks, including the T1 North Shore line from Gordon to North Sydney due to a landslide at Artarmon.
T7 Olympic Park, South Coast, Central Coast and Newcastle, Blue Mountains and Southern Highlands lines are also experiencing disruptions.
Metro services between Chatswood and Macquarie Park are being replaced by buses as are parts of the Dulwich Hill light rail.
Stranded drivers may face wait time of up to three hours due to a 30 percent increase in calls for roadside assistance, an NRMA spokesperson said.
“We are taking every possible measure to get to stranded drivers as quickly as possible – however our task has been made harder due to the difficult conditions on our roads,” NRMA spokesperson Peter Khoury said.
“We also want to urge drivers to avoid driving through puddles or over potholes – this is causing a significant increase in calls for flat tyres and flooded engines," Khoury said.
A total 54 schools have shut their doors in Narrabeen, Picton, Gosford, Wyong, Penrith and Parramatta due to the wild weather.
Sea foam has blanketed Collaroy in Sydney's northern beaches, where king tides are causing coastal erosion.
Golding said further coastal erosion could continue, with high tides forecast for Tuesday.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Northern Tablelands, parts of the Mid North Coast and Riverina.
Ausgrid is also warning of thunderstorms disrupting its network over the next four days in what it says are the worst storms it's experienced in 20 years.
The company is currently working to restore power to 87,000 customers across Sydney, the Central Coast and Newcastle.
Ausgrid restored power to 53,000 homes and businesses overnight.
Close to 16,500 Endeavour Energy customers are still without power after 93,000 homes had power outages due to the storm.
More to come.
Contact Eden at firstname.lastname@example.org