Weather death toll climbs as body found in floodwaters
UPDATE: A BODY has been found in floodwaters near Maitland where a car was swept away earlier today.
The discovery brings the death toll to six people in the past two days.
Police entered floodwaters in the Central Hunter at 6.30pm to check two vehicles which were swept away.
About 8.50am (Wednesday 22 April 2015), police and emergency services were called to Cessnock Road, Maitland, following reports of vehicles in floodwaters.
On arrival, police from Central Hunter Local Area Command and officers from Fire & Rescue NSW and the State Emergency Service (SES), were told two vehicles had been swept away and was submerged.
Several people entered the water to assist and they, in turn, had to be rescued.
5:30 PM: AT LEAST two more people have died in storm-ravaged New South Wales, bringing the death toll to five.Police confirmed two people were killed in a car crash on the New England Hwy near Singleton on Wednesday afternoon.
Grave fears were also held for two elderly women whose car was swept away by floodwater in Maitland in the morning.
Efforts to find the car and its occupants were unsuccessful, with sonar equipment brought from Sydney to help with the search later in the day.Another car had been swept into the same floodwater, but its two occupants were saved by a passer-by.
All three were treated for hypothermia.Conditions were expected to ease across the state overnight, but authorities warned swollen waterways were still dangerous.
The SES ordered the evacuation of 200 homes in Sydney's south-west after the Georges River broke its banks.More than 10,500 requests for help had been received by Wednesday afternoon, with more than 110 rescues performed statewide.
An elderly woman and two elderly men were killed after becoming trapped in Dungog floodwater on Tuesday.
12:50PM: RESCUERS are searching for two people believed to have been swept away when their car was taken by floodwaters in the Central Hunter.
Police and emergency services were called to Cessnock Rd in Maitland about 8.50am today after reports of vehicles in floodwaters.
On arrival, they were told a silver hatchback had been swept away and was submerged.
Several people entered the water to assist and they, in turn, had to be rescued.
The Westpac Careflight helicopter was called in to help with the rescue effort, but the vehicle could not be found.
The search operation is continuing with two people believed to be unaccounted for.
Woman, 80, evacuated amid landslide fears
Police have evacuated a home following reports of a potential landslide in Kiama Downs last night.
About 10pm on Tuesday, police were advised a potential landslide risk to two homes on Cathedral Rocks Avenue.
Police from Lake Illawarra Local Area Command attended, evacuating an 80-year-old woman from one of the homes. The other home was not occupied.
The resident was assisted by police and is now safe with relatives.
No one was injured during the incident.
Police have also advised that train times and travel in the area may be affected with trains not travelling between Kiama and Shellharbour Railway Stations.
Police urge calm amid Manly Dam flooding fears
POLICE have urged people remain calm, following reports of flooding around Manly Dam.
Northern Beaches Local Area Commander, Detective Superintendent David Darcy, is asking residents around Manly Dam to remain calm.
"While there is flooding in the area due to a combination of high tide, rain, heavy surf blocking the exit of water, and a number of small creeks feeding water to the area, Manly Dam has not spilled over or released any water at this time.
"We want to ensure that people in the area are safe and remain calm.
"State Emergency Services, Local Council officers and Police have personally spoken to all residents that are likely to be evacuated in the event of an emergency," said Detective Superintendent Darcy.
Members of the public are reminded that the Public Information and Inquiry Centre has been activated to support the current severe weather response in NSW.
It is currently open and members of the public can contact the Public Information and Inquiry Centre (PIIC) on 1800 227 228, regarding information on the flood and storm operation across NSW.
Additional information in relation to the flood and severe weather warnings can be viewed on www.emergency.nsw.gov.au.
It should be noted that this inquiry hotline does not replace any emergency hotlines.
For emergency flood calls please call the State Emergency Service on 132 500.
UPDATE 3:00 PM:
Weather conditions are expected to deteriorate this evening in Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney regions.
The SES has sent an emergency alert to more than 100,000 people in the Newcastle area, with another storm cell expected to hit soon.
Premier Mike Baird has paid his respects to the families of three elderly people killed in floodwaters at Dungog, and urged employers to let workers go home.
Sharing his thoughts on social media, Mr Baird said the worst was yet to come.
"The weather over Sydney, the Central Coast and the Hunter is forecast to worsen tonight so the SES is encouraging everyone to head home early while it is still daylight," he said.
"Please stay out of flood waters and delay all non-essential travel.
"Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the three elderly residents who have lost their lives at Dungog."
Three dead in NSW wild weather, regions hit by flooding
A FLOODING emergency is taking place across the Hunter region.
NSW police have confirmed that three people, two men and a woman, have died in Dungog, north west of Newcastle. They are believed to be elderly residents of the town.
Video footage from the town shows an entire house being carried away by flood waters.
The town of Stroud has reportedly also been cut off and several campervans washed away.
EXTRAORDINARY VIDEO: House washed away by waters in Dungog. I've never seen anything like it. (Source: NBN News) pic.twitter.com/ljXsWriywk— Chris Urquhart (@chrisurquhart) April 21, 2015
In a press conference this afternoon, Premier Mike Baird says the storm is more severe than they anticipated.
"The consequences are quite significant across NSW and it is clear that we are in the midst of very challenging weather," said Mr Baird.
"There has been over 4,500 calls, 3,000 calls to 000.
"There has been over 47 flood rescues. Over 200,000 homes and businesses have lost their power.
"Our workers that are working very hard to restore that power but it is a constant event with the winds the strength they are, continuing to be of high strength, that the priority will be to get power back to hospitals and our aged care facilities in particular from Illawarra to Newcastle, to start to head home as soon as possible. There will be specific advice that will come into Newcastle in particular."
Mr Baird said an evacuation centre has been set up in Dungog.
"We are doing everything possible we can to support them. Some of the areas are remote and cut off but we are doing everything possible to provide support on the ground."
"We are calling for bosses to be flexible, people to make arrangements in an orderly way to start to head home as soon as you possibly can."
Wild weather forecast
The dangerous thunderstorms have spread across nelson Bay to Maitland in the Hunter Valley, causing very intense rainfall, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The Hunter Valley is grappling with winds reaching 135kmh while metropolitan Sydney and Illawarra regions are copping up to 100kmh gusts.
More than 172mm of rain has fallen in Sydney and 312mm at Dungog, causing widespread flooding.
The most severe thunderstorms are expected to have already struck Williamtown, Medowie and areas between Raymond Terrace and Karuah.
The storms are heading south-west, with Seaham and Hexham north of Newcastle to be affected from 1.40pm.
To see all the Bureau of Meteorology warnings, head here: http://www.bom.gov.au/nsw/warnings/
The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
- Move vehicles under cover or away from trees.
- Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
- Keep clear of fallen power lines.
- Don't drive, ride or walk through flood water.
- Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
- If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.
- For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500.
Sydney-siders told to stay indoors as wild weather hits
THE worst weather in five years continues to lash New South Wales as authorities warn residents of Sydney, Newcastle, the Illawarra and the Central Coast to stay inside unless absolutely necessary.
An elderly woman is in a critical condition after she was rescued from floodwaters at Stroud, north of Newcastle.
It is believed she was one of two people reported missing overnight.
A representative of the SES said the couple had been in contact with authorities via mobile phone, but it appeared their battery had died.
Powerful winds meant helicopters could not be used in the rescue mission.
A cruise ship returning from Fiji was stranded outside Sydney Heads due to a huge ocean swell and may be stuck there for the next two days.
Passengers aboard the Carnival Spirit were due back on Australian soil today.
More than 20 people have been rescued across the state, with flood watches on all major rivers in the Hunter and Mid North Coast regions.
The NSW SES Facebook account posted an update at 9.44am today.
"Our job map is very colourful with over 3552 jobs and 23 flood rescues across the state since 10am Monday," it stated.
"We understand that many people are on hold trying to get through to our operations centre, please be patient as we are responding to life critical jobs first before #storm damage jobs."
Hundreds of power lines have been damaged in the storm, leaving more than 100,000 homes without power across the state.
Premier Mike Baird and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott will hold a media conference to provide an update on the current conditions at 1pm.