NSW faced a massive deluge of rain on Saturday night, after a massive 400km band travelled from east to west across the state.
Heading into the evening, residents were warned to brace for flash flooding, landslides and strong winds as the low pressure system dumped rain across large swathes of the state.
East coast residents have been warned the big wet could stick around for weeks and months.
On Saturday afternoon there were 63 flood warnings in place with dams and rivers still full following recent deluges.
Prior to the significant event, residents across the state were warned of the risk of flash flooding.
“We are expecting overnight heavy rainfall in Sydney as it moves up from the west, so there is significant risk of flash flooding right across our state,” Premier Dominic Perrottet said on Saturday afternoon.
“We currently have a situation where our dams are full, our rivers are full, so with heavy rain expected we ask everybody to continue to be cautious.
“If those flood warnings are in place, please continue to follow instructions, be prepared and be ready if an evacuation is needed.”
The deluge forced Saturday’s iconic Top 10 Bathurst Shootout to be cancelled because of unsafe track conditions caused by the torrential rain at Mount Panorama.
The iconic single-lap qualifying dash had been due to get underway at around 5pm (AEDT) but race organisers deemed the track was too wet to drive on.
It comes after the city broke its all-time yearly rainfall record of 2194mm earlier this week.
On Saturday evening, the SES issued its first evacuation order, with residents urged to leave Oura Beach Camping Area, just west of Wagga Wagga, before 9am Sunday.
“You must evacuate before this time because inundation to the area and access road may be cut,” the SES said in its emergency warning alert.
The low pressure system deepened on Saturday and cross the coast and is expected to rapidly move offshore by late Sunday.
Six-hour rainfall totals between 30 to 50mm fell in some areas, with major flooding hitting the Bell, Macquarie, Darling, Culgoa and Lachlan rivers as well as Birrie, Bokhara, Barwon and Darling Rivers.
Minor to moderate flood warnings were issued along the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers on Saturday night.
“We are only eight days into the storm season and unfortunately we are seeing flooding continuing across New South Wales, which continues to impact on our rural, regional and remote communities,” NSW Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said on Saturday.
“It is expected to do so for weeks and in fact months ahead.
“The bureau is of expecting not just additional rainfall and flooding in relation to this current event, but we are expecting to see another trough move through from Wednesday, which will impact already flooded communities and areas and rivers right across the west of New South Wales.”
Ms Cooke said Saturday was the “danger day” for the state, with areas at a greater risk of renewed or continued flooding due to a wetter than usual start to spring.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Putty in the north-west of Sydney, recorded 79mm of rainfall in the six hours to 8pm and Vincentia, in Jervis Bay, recorded 82mm of rainfall in the three hours to 8.15pm.
Four ADF helicopters had been put on standby across three stations across the state – at Holsworthy, Williamtown and Parkes – while the SES has 500 volunteers and 10 helicopters on standby.
Over the last 24 hours the SES received over 330 calls for help and had to perform six flood rescues.
The extreme conditions have made it hard for competitors and attendees at the Bathurst 1000 with organisers on Saturday cancelling one of the support races.
The SES has warned those at Mount Panorama to avoid floodwaters and to consider where they are camping, with up to 100mm of rain expected over the weekend.
“To those people at Bathurst, and right across the state, please be careful on the roads, lookout for each other and that is the great Australian way,” Mr Perrottet said.
In response to the severe weather, the State Emergency Operations Centre at Homebush, Sydney has been activated.
The SES have positioned people in at-risk areas to ensure they were prepared if the worst does eventuate.
Further down south in Victoria, Melbourne residents are still recovering from a monster rain burst that fell over parts of the city on Friday.
Some suburbs recorded as much as 30mm in the space of just 20 minutes in the middle of the day, while two cars became stuck under the York Street bridge due to floodwaters.
In total, Melbourne experienced half of its average rainfall for October in an hour on Friday.
In the city’s north, Mickleham Rd at Craigieburn is still closed between Mt Ridley Rd and Destination Dr.
It is over are fears a private dam may burst and release huge amounts of water in the surrounding area if it gives way.
The SES and authorities will continue to monitor the situation throughout Saturday.
A popular wine and music festival in the Yarra Valley was cancelled on Saturday morning due to the wet conditions.
Frustrated Grapevine Gathering organisers said “f******g La Niña … this is not the kind of ‘pour’ we had in mind” after they were forced to cancel the event at Rochford Wines just hours before it was supposed to start.
Acts who were scheduled to perform at the festival included The Veronicas, Peking Duk and The Kooks.
Peking Duk were left devastated by the unfortunate turn of events.
“It’s been years since the last normal events season. We have been hit by fires, the pandemic, staff shortages & beyond. Everyone was holding out for this one, but now it’s the floods,” the band said in a statement.
Grapevine Gathering said information on refunds would be communicated “as soon as possible.”
Across the state, Victoria SES has issued 41 flood warnings. Five are to “watch and act”, the rest are to monitor the conditions.
Minor to moderate flood warnings have been issued at various river catchments across the state, though a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Gippsland was cancelled on Friday afternoon.