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Sydney orders evacuations as torrential rain causes flooding

People stand on a rock ledge as huge swells hit the headland at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia, on July 3, 2022.Mark Baker/Associated Press

(Bloomberg) — Authorities in Sydney asked thousands of people to evacuate their homes as torrential rain lashes Australia’s largest city, causing widespread flooding.

A severe weather warning for heavy rainfall and damaging winds was in place Sunday across Sydney and surrounding areas, with the Bureau of Meteorology saying the downpour is expected to continue and may lead to flash flooding. The state emergency service issued dozens of evacuation orders and warnings in low-lying areas of the city.

New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services Steph Cooke said the worst of the weather system is expected to hit over the next 24 hours, and she urged residents to avoid travel even as school holidays begin in the state.

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“A whopping 366mm of rain has fallen at Brogers Creek, near Kiama, in the last 24 hours,” Cooke said in a post on Facebook. “And I’m afraid to say that the torrential rainfall will continue in many parts of our state. Overnight we have seen an East Coast low develop. This will bring more rain, more damaging winds and the risk of coastal erosion.”

The Sydney Morning Herald said parts of the region had more than their monthly average rainfall within hours this weekend.

It’s the latest of several flooding events that have caused damage in and around Sydney this year.