Two people are feared missing in floodwaters in the New South Wales Hunter region as gale force wind and heavy rain continues to lash the state.
Fire and Rescue NSW said the pair disappeared at Stroud near Maitland overnight.
The State Emergency Service has continued the search for them this morning but have found no sign of them.
SES Deputy Commissioner Steven Pearce said dozens of others are stranded in the Stroud Showgrounds.
“It’s basically like a flood island. They’re safe but we just can’t get access to them due to no light and also the ferocious winds,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner Pearce said the SES, who have carried out 10 flood rescues, was responding to an ever increasing number of calls.
“Extremely busy is an understatement,” he said.
“We’ve received just under 3,000 calls for assistance [in the Sydney, the Hunter district, Central Coast and Illawarra] within a 24-hour period which is enormous.
“We’ve haven’t seen this sort of weather pattern, this east coast low or one as severe as this in years.
“The consistent gale force winds which are actually cyclonic in some areas with gusts up to 135 kilometres per hour.”
A deepening low pressure system has caused heavy rain and strong winds, which have brought down trees and powerlines, cut power to 140,000 properties and caused major transport disruptions in Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter districts.
Anthony O’Brien from Ausgrid said the number of affected properties is likely to grow.
“As we sit here I can see the system updating and more reports of power lines being brought down and as we head into first light we expect that there will be a large number of calls coming through,” he said.
Ausgrid said crews would be out this morning to start repairs on the damaged network but said some households’ electricity may not be restored until Wednesday.
Superintendent Wayne Phillips from Fire and Rescue said coastal areas were bearing the brunt of the storm.
“The areas most affected are from Sydney to Newcastle. We’ve got numerous wires down, trees down,” he said.
The severe weather warning continues today for damaging and locally destructive winds, heavy rainfall and damaging surf across the Sydney, Mid North Coast, Hunter and Illawarra regions.
The Hunter and Mid North Coast are expected to bear the brunt of today’s wild weather, with about 200 millimetres of rain and gale force winds of up to 100 kilometres per hour forecast.
Commuters encouraged to reconsider travel plans
A number of major roads and rail lines have been closed in Sydney and around the state as a result of the wild weather.
The Princes Highway is closed at Sydneyham because of a fallen powerpole, The Bells Line of Road is closed at Kurrajong and flooding has closed the Wakehurst Parkway and Oxford Falls Road near Sydney’s northern beaches.
Train services have been cancelled between Newcastle and Sydney as well as between the Central Coast and Newcastle
Brett Moore from the Transport Management Centre said the best approach may be to stay home today.
“If you can be home today, it may be a good option as the incoming weather has affected the roads and the public transport network,” he said.
“If you don’t need to be out on the road, probably best not to be.”
on 21/04/2015 4:32pm
How much rain has this country had in the pass 6 months as they are always talking a bout floods and the lake is fill going by the sat photos so i dont know how those places had droughts that you put on here in Aus……buttering them up before elnino i suspect!!!!!!!!!! and if there is an elnino Aus will get whacked since they missed out on the last one