I regret to inform you New South Wales is due to be pelted with rain, wind and storms this week and the Bureau of Meteorology has warned wet weather and flood warnings for parts of the state will “continue for several months”.
After rain and storms at the end of last week, heavy rain hit Sydney on Tuesday morning and is expected to worsen throughout the day and into Wednesday as the system moves from South Australia to the east coast. We got literally one day of sun on Sunday!!!!
Residents have been urged to prepare for severe storms, damaging wind gusts, localised heavy rainfall and large hailstones. Fun.
Total rainfall over next 4 days. A low pressure system may move over the southern coast on Wednesday. Heavy rainfall and strong winds are possible somewhere along the southern half of the coast, but there’s some uncertainty for the exact location. Monitor: https://t.co/REl2VBlGnA pic.twitter.com/730JKGUFct
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) September 26, 2022
BOM also issued fresh flood warnings for southern parts of the state and said, thanks to a third consecutive La Niña, this was just the beginning of a long, wet season.
“For the next few days the rainfall totals might not be a lot but it’ll fall so intensely, it’s hard for the ground to absorb it at the moment, it ponds really easily,” BOM senior forecaster Jane Golding told Guardian Australia.
“We’ll see a pretty similar summer to what we saw last year, more wet days than normal, [but] because the catchments are so saturated they’re going to flood a lot more easily than last year.
“Communities should be aware that with catchments wet and many dams at capacity, waterways are very sensitive to any future rainfall and flooding is expected to continue for several months.”
Unlike this time last year, most NSW catchments are already full so communities are already bracing for worse flooding this season.
More than half of regional NSW’s dams are at or above capacity — something not seen by authorities since the 1990s.
Burrendong Dam in western NSW is at 130 per cent capacity.
Just to be clear, the way dams are measured means that 100 per cent full isn’t overtopping, it just means it’s reached the optimal level so any water above it can and should be released down the river or into surrounding areas.
“Dams will strategically release water prior to a rain event if it’s anticipated,” State Emergency Service community capability officer Jake Hoppe told the ABC.
But Water NSW spokesperson Tony Weber said releasing it on top of heavy water running downstream or into the surrounding farmlands meant an increased risk of major flooding.
“In normal circumstances you can release that water into the river once the tributaries start to recede but what we have right now is very high tributary flows,” he told the ABC.
“Even just 30 to 40 [millimetres of rain] is driving huge amounts of water into the dam that then needs to at some point be released in the river downstream.”
As well as the months ahead, rain is forecast for most of NSW all week including, yes, the Labour Day long weekend on Monday. At least NSW residents all know by this point how to entertain themselves indoors.