Sydney to record wettest year in 164 years, as Australia braces for more floods
- Australia’s east coast has been in the grip of a multi-year rain event due to the La Nina weather phenomenon, typically associated with increased rainfall
- The added rainfall has caused Sydney’s suburbs to flood three times in the past two years and forced tens of thousands to flee their homes
By Thursday morning, Sydney had received 2,157mm (85 inches) of rain for the year, just shy of the record 2,194mm set in 1950, official data showed.
“That record is likely to fall late [on] Friday night and into Saturday,” Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecaster Jonathan How told Australian Broadcasting Corp. television. It is only the fifth time the country’s largest city has topped 2,000mm in a year since records began in 1858.
With a wild weather system expected to dump heavy rains through the weekend across a wide swathe of Australia’s east, authorities warned Sydney residents to watch for flash flooding and stay away from flooded roads.
Many dams and rivers are already at full capacity. The New South Wales state government has committed to raising the height of the wall at Sydney’s Warragamba Dam, which supplies 80 per cent of the city’s water, help prevent future floods.
Some of the state’s rural inland towns are already flooded, with television footage showing residents moving farm animals to higher grounds and damaged roads.
More downpours are forecast for the rest of 2022 due to the rare occurrence of a third straight La Nina weather event.
“Heading into late spring and summer, we’re still in this active La Nina period so we can expect more and more rainfall and that does increase the risk of flooding,” BoM’s How said.