A severe weather system lashing parts of Australia’s east coast prompted over 850 calls for help over the weekend as heavy rain and winds caused severe flooding and other damages.
Warnings remained in place on Monday for far-north New South Wales (NSW) and southeast Queensland, reports Xinhua news agency.
An NSW State Emergency Service (SES) spokesperson told Xinhua that crews had conducted five flood rescues over the weekend and responded to 853 calls for help involving of property damage, fallen trees and branches and assistance with flood protection.
Officials reminded the public not to risk their lives by driving into flood waters which can be far deeper and faster moving than they appear.
Bureau of Meteorology scientist Jonathan How said that tropical rains, strong winds, and hazardous coastal conditions were creating dangerous conditions for large parts of both states.
“Warnings are current for heavy rainfall and damaging winds to 90 km/h while king tides and dangerous surf could generate considerable coastal erosion,” How said.
“Monday will be the critical time for NSW as the trough moves south and saturated rivers rise even further.”
One Queensland weather station recorded close to half a metre of rainfall in 24-hours on Saturday with rainfall continuing throughout the weekend and into Monday.
Severe erosion was witnessed at one of Australia’s most famous beaches, Byron Bay where huge waves combined with a high tide to sweep away large amounts of sand, trees and other debris from the beachfront.
Sandbags were deployed to protect structures in Byron Bay, as well as other vulnerable areas across NSW, with the severe weather predicted to continue throughout the start of the week.