Authorities prepared for severe floods in Australia’s east on Thursday as Sydney marked its wettest year in 164 years. More torrential rain is predicted to fall over the next three days.
Australia’s largest metropolis has experienced 2,200 mm of rain in a year for the first time since records began in 1858, and there are still almost three months left in 2022.
Approximately 2,213 mm (87 inches) of rain has fallen on Sydney by Thursday afternoon, breaking the previous record of 2,194 mm recorded in 1950.
In the five hours since 9 a.m. local time (2200 GMT, Wednesday), more than 58 mm have fallen, according to Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) live data.
As Australia’s east coast continues to experience the exceptional La Nina weather pattern for a third straight year, further downpours are predicted for the rest of 2022.
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 forecaster Jonathan How told ABC television.
Three times in the past two years, flooding has affected Sydney’s suburbs, displacing tens of thousands of people.
Authorities in Sydney cautioned citizens to be on the lookout for flash floods and to avoid driving on flooded roads as a wild weather system was anticipated to drop torrential rains through the weekend across a large area of Australia’s east.
The capacity of many dams and rivers has already been reached. In order to help avert future floods, the state of New South Wales has committed to increasing the height of the wall at Sydney’s Warragamba Dam, which provides 80% of the city’s water.