Major flooding is expected to inundate parts of western and southern Sydney today as communities from the NSW Central to South Coast wake to 30 separate evacuation orders, road and school closures, as well as dangerous road conditions.
The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) issued 30 evacuation orders between 6pm on Wednesday and dawn today.
Most of the orders are for low-lying areas in the Hawkesbury-Nepean region on Sydney's north-western fringes around Richmond, Windsor and Pitt Town, as well as in the city's south around the Georges River at Liverpool and Milperra.
Some residents at Tuggerah Lake on the Central Coast have also been told to leave.
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Hawkesbury City Council has announced all its facilities are closed until further notice due to the flooding.
As Sydneysiders woke to another day of torrential rain on Thursday as part of a damaging east coast low, the SES also warned of a road weather alert for the entire metropolis.
"Flooded roads and reduced visibility in heavy rain will make driving conditions dangerous during Thursday in all suburbs," the SES posted on Twitter.
Landslides, debris, floodwaters and fallen rocks had also closed roads around the state, especially in the Northern Rivers and Illawarra.
Many students are facing a day at home in any case. Some 250 schools around NSW were closed on Thursday do the wild weather, including 186 public schools, 35 independent schools and 29 Catholic schools.
The SES said that in the 24 hours to dawn it had assisted with fallen trees, leaking roofs and sandbagging. It had received 3166 calls for help in that time, including 255 flood rescues.
In addition to the major flooding expected in Sydney's north-west and southern suburbs - which is predicted to surpass the devastating March 2021 flood levels at Richmond - the Bureau of Meteorology has warned of possible moderate flooding for Illawarra and South Coast.
Minor flooding is predicted for parts of the Hunter, Central Coast, Sydney and Queanbeyan.
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