A man has died in floodwaters in NSW and thousands of people in parts of Greater Sydney have been told to evacuate or prepare to do so as rivers rise following torrential rain.
Police are working to retrieve the man‘s body after he was found in a submerged vehicle at Cobbitty, southwest of Sydney, before 8am on Friday.
More than 150 NSW schools have been closed after a torrential downpour prompted evacuations in Sydney’s south and southwest.
Evacuation orders have been issued in 14 suburbs, with residents in a further eight suburbs told to prepare for orders to leave, many of them in the same areas as those that were evacuated during flooding in March.
#BREAKING: Emergency crews are working to retrieve the body of a man who was found dead inside a car in floodwaters at #Cobbitty.@hayleyefrancis & @biancabalzer have the latest on NSW's flood emergency. #9News pic.twitter.com/MlqJcQxB9c
— 9News Sydney (@9NewsSyd) April 8, 2022
The Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley is being monitored, with major flooding expected on Friday.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said close to 2400 people were subject to evacuation orders on Friday morning, with more than 17,000 in the warning areas.
“Despite the substantial flooding that we’ve seen across our state, what is incredibly pleasing has been that we’ve only lost a very few amount of lives, and that has occurred because of the efforts that everyone has made across our state in following the instructions of the SES,” Mr Perrottet said, before the news that a man‘s body had been discovered.
Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said the state had flood fatigue but people needed to keep following the advice of emergency services.
“It will stop raining, it will get better,” Ms Cooke said.
“We just need to keep (getting) through this one day at a time.”
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said the rain would ease on Friday after downpours on Thursday.
“We do have flood warnings current, though, so although the rain is easing … the rivers will be moving quickly (and) there’s a lot of debris flowing around,” she said.
The SES received almost 1200 requests for assistance and conducted 35 rescues in the 24 hours to 9am on Friday.
“Across a population base the size that we had under warning areas, 35 is actually quite a low number and we are really grateful for the community for listening,” NSW SES acting commissioner Daniel Austin said.
More than 1200 SES volunteers have been on the ground as catchments react quickly to heavy rain causing flash flooding.
The NSW education department has listed 155 schools, predominantly around Greater Sydney, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions that are not operating due to adverse weather conditions as of Friday morning.
Central and South Coast rivers are no longer subject to flood watch, but danger remains in the Hawkesbury-Nepean.
Water is spilling over Warragamba Dam, which was at capacity when the downpour started.
A major flood peak above levels seen during the April 1988 floods passed through Menangle on Thursday afternoon.
Wallacia is expected to experience flooding at levels higher than last month when the Upper Nepean River peaks on Friday.
There is also major flooding likely on Friday afternoon at North Richmond on the Hawkesbury River, although the Bureau of Meteorology believes it will remain well below last month’s flooding.