Half a million Australians face flood evacuation orders

(Reuters, 3 Mar 2022) After a week of heavy rainfall and flash flooding, the Australian authorities have issued evacuation orders to tens of thousands of people in Sydney.

Authorities in Australia issued more orders for people to leave their homes on Thursday after heavy rain triggered flash floods in its largest city, with officials warning of worse to come and some 500,000 people likely to face orders to evacuate.

Australia's east coast has been battered by a severe weather system that has cut off entire towns and submerged hundreds of homes and farms as it has moved south from Queensland state over the past week.

Thirteen people have been killed since the deluge began a week ago.

"We do believe that things will get worse before they get better in the state," New South Wales state Premier Dominic Perrottet told reporters, adding that some half a million people would be affected by evacuation orders and warnings.

Perrottet said the floods would likely be worse in some places than floods last year, which were the worst in 60 years.

The second year of flooding comes as the La Nina weather pattern, typically associated with increased rainfall, has dominated Australia's east coast over the summer. Rivers and catchments were already near capacity before the latest drenching after steady rains over the last few weeks.

Authorities said not as much water was expected to overflow from the Warragamba Dam, Sydney's major water supply, as earlier feared as rains slightly eased.

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Reuters, 3 Mar 2022: Half a million Australians face flood evacuation orders