Torrential rains cause flood, home and transport chaos across Sydney

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Queensland Floods
Cars are partially submerged by a flash flood in Toowoomba, Queensland, January 10, 2011. Reuters/Alayne Hammermeister

Sydney residents have welcomed Wednesday morning with heavy rains that caused damage to homes and transport chaos. An apartment building in the inner west suburb of Marrickville was at risk of collapsing into a flooded water hole behind it and so was evacuated.

Meanwhile, a residence in Tennyson Point had collapsed. More than 240 calls have reached the North South Wales State Emergency Service (NSW SES). People were calling for help in repairing the damage caused by torrential rains.

NSW Fire and Rescue crews responded to about 200 incidents between 10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. today. According to its Twitter post, most of the storm-related call-outs were in the inner Sydney area.

Thirteen motorists were stranded in flood waters. Volunteers have helped in rescuing them. They have also assisted in the evacuation of 17 residents from the three-level apartment block in Ewart Street. The residents are unlikely to return home tonight although firefighters said the building has small chance of collapsing.

According to NSW SES spokeswoman Becky Golling, the unstable situation of the building is being monitored. “Police and also Fire and Rescue are on scene, assessing situation to see how serious it is,” she told She said the authorities are monitoring whether the building will collapse into a water hole behind it.

Geoff, a resident from Marrickville, told Fairfax Media that he had never seen anything like the rain today. The heavy rains have also caused serious delays across the public transport network. Several forms of transportation, including bus, train and light rail services were affected.

Delay at the inner west buses lasted for up to an hour due to the flood. Some roads across the city were closed as heavy rains persist. Weather predictions claim that the heavy rainfall will continue throughout the day and into tomorrow.

Weatherman Mohammed Nabi has forecasted continuous rain throughout the day until Thursday. He explained that the heavy rain is caused by thunderstorms combined with the humid air over the city. “When you get these sorts of downfalls, they can cause flash flooding in built-up areas,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Sydney residents have endured sweltering heat wave late last week and across the weekend, with temperature reaching the mid to high 30s. Now the rainfall comes as a welcome relief for Sydneysiders when the temperature has dropped to the mid 20s most nights. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued just before noon but was cancelled after an hour.