By Abu Bakarr (22/03/2021)
A young couple in Australia’s New South Wales state has seen their house swept away by flash floods on what should have been their wedding day. Shocked neighbours filmed the uprooted three-bedroom cottage bobbing along the Manning River after it burst its banks following heavy rain. Thousands of more people in the low-lying suburbs of Sydney have been told they may have to leave their homes. The city is seeing its worst flooding in decades as the downpour continues. (Photo: Australia floods).
Officials have warned of “life-threatening flash floods”, with waters not expected to subside until Thursday. Seven emergency shelters opened across the state as Premier Gladys Berejiklian said parts of the Mid-North Coast were experiencing a “once in the 100-year event”. Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main water source, has been overflowing for the first time in years.
What happened to the house? Sarah Soars and Joshua Edge had been renting the cottage at Mondrook, 325km (205 miles) north of Sydney, and had been due to get married on Saturday on the river banks in front of the property. The couple, who have been together for nine years, are staying with family and were not in the house when it was swept away. (Photo: Ellenborough River bank bursts).
“It literally floated like a houseboat, the whole house, fully intact,” the co-owner of the property Peter Bowie was quoted as saying by Australian broadcaster ABC. “It went so fast,” he added. “It went nearly a kilometre all intact, 100%. This house just lifted up and floated down the river.” How serious is the situation? Hundreds of people have been gathering at emergency evacuation centres set up across the state.
Up to 100mm (four inches) of rain is forecast to fall in 12 hours over Sydney, and as much as 300mm for the lower Blue Mountains, west of the city. Sydney residents posted pictures on social media of flooded roads and rising waters near their homes. Agata Imielska from the Bureau of Meteorology warned of localised intense rainfall and damaging winds, saying the public should be aware of “dangerous conditions” that could change quite quickly.
“If you don’t need to travel if you don’t need to head out today, this is the day to stay at home,” Ms Imielska was quoted as saying by the Sydney Morning Herald. Some children took advantage of the rain to organise a mudslide in Newcastle.