Sydney braces for flash floods as torrential rains move south

Floodwaters swamping buildings on a riverbank
Floodwaters swamp apartment buildings along a river in Brisbane, Australia, on Wednesday.
(Tertius Pickard / Associated Press)

Sydney prepared Wednesday for dangerous flash flooding as population centers farther north began a massive cleanup operation after record floods that have claimed at least 14 lives along Australia’s east coast in recent days.

The torrential rain — as much as 8 inches — is forecast for Australia’s most populous city and surrounding areas late Wednesday and early Thursday, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.

“In the Sydney area, we have minor to major flood warnings current,” meteorologist Dean Narramore said.


In the New South Wales town of Lismore, 370 miles north of Sydney, a fourth death was confirmed Wednesday as floodwaters drain from homes and searchers knock on doors.

The body of a man in his 70s was found inside a flooded apartment, a police statement said.

Another man’s body had been found floating in a main street earlier Wednesday.

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Lismore, with a population of 28,000, was inundated when Wilsons River peaked Monday afternoon at its highest level since records began in 1880.

Authorities expect the death toll to rise in Lismore and its surrounding areas.

Dozens of suburbs remain flooded in Brisbane — Queensland state’s capital, about 470 miles north of Sydney — after the river that snakes through its center peaked Monday.

Australia’s third-most populous city received 80% of its average annual rainfall within a few days.

A cleanup effort is underway, with 8,000 volunteers enlisted in the so-called Mud Army, which helps those who were inundated.

Queensland has accounted for nine of the deaths from the flooding disaster, which has resulted from a low-pressure system that is moving south.