Three people die in New South Wales storms

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In New South Wales (NSW), Australia, two men and a woman died yesterday after search-and-rescue operations failed to rescue them from floods in Dungog, roughly 200 km (125 miles) north of the state's capital, Sydney.

Storms hit communites along the east coast of Australia including Newcastle, the Hunter Region, the Central Coast, the Illawarra region, and Sydney. The Bureau of Meteorology reported a deep low-pressure system has caused heavy rainfall and strong winds which reached 130kph (80mph). Winds were predicted to ease today.

There have been blackouts throughout the region and severe flooding which has caused roads, bridges and houses to be washed away. More than 500 volunteers were working with the State Emergency Service to assist with operations and protect individuals, with firefighters from the Rural Fire Service and Fire Rescue according to State Emergency Service deputy commissioner Steven Pearce. They issued a warning that residents in Newcastle and surrounding areas might experience flash flooding.

The Insurance Council of Australia reported already during the day yesterday more than 5500 policyholder claims due to the storms. New South Wales premier Mike Baird said people should leave work early and arrive home before dark, as storms were predicted to intensify.

NSW transport authorities said 300 sets of traffic lights in Syndey were out and motorists should be cautious or preferably not drive. Authorities advised residents to stay away from flood-waters and from areas exposed to surf, where heavy surf can lead to coastal damage and erosion.

The New South Wales Emergency Services Minister David Elliot said it was a "once-in-a-decade storm".

Sources

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