Major NSW flood warnings and evacuation orders in place as heavy rain continues – as it happened | Australia news
National Covid-19 update
Here are the latest coronavirus numbers from around Australia today, as the country records at least 33 deaths from Covid-19:
- Deaths: 0
- Cases: 1,094
- In hospital: 49 (with 3 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 16
- Cases: 22,255
- In hospital: 1,437 (with 48 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 0
- Cases: 513
- In hospital: 24 (with 1 person in ICU)
- Deaths: 7
- Cases: 10,984
- In hospital: 444 (with 17 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 3
- Cases: 6,091
- In hospital: 210 (with 12 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 0
- Cases: 2,365
- In hospital: 43 (with 1 person in ICU)
- Deaths: 4
- Cases: 12,314
- In hospital: 315 (with 12 people in ICU)
- Deaths: 3
- Cases: 7,998
- In hospital: 256 (with 8 people in ICU)
What we learned: Thursday, 7 April
With that, we will wrap up the blog for the evening. New South Wales readers, stay safe and dry tonight.
Here were today’s major developments:
- A number of flood evacuation orders remain in place in New South Wales as heavy rain continues to hit Sydney and surrounds. The Nepean River is sitting at 16.8 metres at Menangle and is expected to reach similar levels to the 1988 flood.
- A severe weather warning has been issued by the Bureau of Meteorology covering Sydney, the Illawarra and the south coast, as well as parts of Hunter, central tablelands and southern tablelands districts.
- The foreign minister, Marise Payne, has announced new sanctions on Russia on a Nato trip to Belgium; however, she has resisted pressure to expel Russian diplomats from Australia.
- An estimated 20 asylum seekers have been released from detention in Australia, including the final eight residents detained in Melbourne’s Park hotel.
- The environment minister, Sussan Ley, has adopted a long-awaited recovery plan for the koala.
- The PM has confirmed the federal government will go halves with Queensland on a flood funding package.
- And the Victorian government will provide free rapid antigen tests for all Victorians with a disability.
The foreign minister, Marise Payne, has released a statement confirming Australia will partner with the Nato strategic communications centre of excellence to address hybrid threats and counter disinformation.
You can peruse the full report from the Senate select committee on Covid-19 here. It recommends, among other things, a royal commission into the pandemic response to be established by the next federal government.
Nepean River reaches 16.8 metres at Menangle
Major flooding is continuing to occur at Menangle along the Nepean River with levels in excess of last month’s flood. The river is currently sitting at 16.8 metres at Menangle Bridge, similar to the April 1988 flood, which peaked at 16.75 metres.
Renewed rises of about 17 metres are possible later this evening, the BoM says.
Major flooding is also expected at Wallacia and possible at Camden along the Nepean from this evening. Camden Weir is likely to reach about 12.8 metres this evening with further rises possible overnight in excess of the March 2022 peak. At the Wallacia Weir, the river may reach about 14.4 metres tomorrow morning, similar to the 1988 peak of 14.33 metres.
Major flooding is also “likely” at North Richmond along the Hawkesbury from tomorrow, with river levels likely to remain below a peak last month.
Here’s the latest from the bureau:
A deepening coastal trough has been producing heavy rainfall over the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley since Wednesday evening, with rainfall expected to continue for the remainder of Thursday and into Friday.
River level rises have been observed across the Hawkesbury Nepean Valley and are expected to rise further with forecast rain. Major flooding is occurring along the Upper Nepean River at levels higher than the March 2022 and similar to the April 1988 floods with further rises possible.
Warragamba dam is spilling. Major flooding is likely along the Hawkesbury River at North Richmond from early Friday as a result of significant flows from the Upper Nepean and widespread rainfall.
Predictions for Lower Portland and Wisemans Ferry will be provided after upstream peaks are observed.
A Severe Weather Warning is current for heavy rainfall in the Metropolitan, Illawarra, South Coast and parts of Hunter, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands Forecast Districts.
A Flood Watch is current for the Upper Coxs and Macdonald Rivers.
It appears 32 hospitalisations were missed in the Victorian government’s Covid update today.
Stepping back for a minute, here’s the current flooding situation in New South Wales.
Evacuation orders are currently in place for parts of Camden, Chipping Norton, low-lying parts of Woronora and Bonnet Bay, and Bungawalbin.
A number of evacuation warnings are also in place covering parts of Wallacia Weir, parts of Camden, Stonequarry Creek at Picton, Stuarts Point and surrounding areas. Access the full NSW SES advice here.
The Bureau of Meteorology has listed severe weather warnings for metropolitan Sydney, Illawarra, South Coast and parts of the Hunter, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands with heavy rain expected to continue into the evening.
A road weather alert is active for all of Sydney, and a marine wind and hazardous surf warning is in place for the state.
There are 10 active flood warnings in NSW, with major flooding occurring at Menangle and expected to exceed the floods of 20 March and April 1988.
Major flooding is also expected along the Nepean at Wallacia and is possible at Camden this evening. Major flooding is also possible at North Richmond along the Hawkesbury River, however flood levels are likely to remain below the peak reached last month.
If you’re in Sydney right now – this won’t come as a surprise. It’s bucketing.
“People know who I am” is definitely a useful first step to getting elected.
Back to 2GB, and Payne was asked about growing calls to expel Russian diplomats based in Australia.
We absolutely do communicate with them … I know this is a point of some interest and I think it’s important to realise that from my part, having a diplomatic path to discuss these issues can be very important. I’m also conscious there are hundreds and hundreds of Australians in Russia.
Dare he take a cheeky ride on the carousel?
Payne just spoke to 2GB from Brussels prior to heading to Nato meetings.
She said Ukraine would be the “complete focus” of the meeting and Australia was “very pleased to be able to participate as a close partner of Nato”.
Asked whether sanctions have worked, she said they were having a “real effect” due to the “extensive global coordination amongst partners”.
The horror is almost unspeakable and we see it every day, but I do think Australians can be proud of the effort our country is making to support Ukraine and work so closely with our partners.
As was previously mentioned, the foreign minister, Marise Payne, unveiled further sanctions on Russia while speaking in Belgium today.
Targeted financial sanctions and travel bans have been announced for a further 67 individuals “for their role in Russia’s unprovoked, unjust and illegal invasion of Ukraine”.
The latest round of sanctions follows the emerging evidence of war crimes committed by Russia in Bucha, which has seen widespread global condemnation including the expulsion of Russian diplomats from EU countries.
Payne’s statement reads:
Australia condemns these atrocities in the strongest possible terms.
Those sanctioned include prominent Russian military official Colonel-General Mikhail Mizintsev, who has been described as the “Butcher of Mariupol”, for attacks including the bombing of the theatre in which innocent civilians were sheltering in Mariupol.
They also include deputy prime minister Dmitry Grigorenko, minister of economic development Maxim Reshetnikov, deputy chairman of the Russian State Duma, Aleksander Babakov, and other senior Russian government officials.
In addition, we are also listing the Kremlin-installed so-called “mayor” of Melitopol, Ukrainian Galina Danilchenko, and a member of the Ukrainian Parliament, Oleg Voloshyn, who has been working with Russia to undermine the Ukrainian Government.
With these latest listings, the Australian Government has now sanctioned close to 600 individuals and entities in relation to Russia’s illegal war.