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Canberra hit by heavy rain, flash flooding inundates homes

By Jon Healy, Monday February 26, 2018 - 00:59 EDT
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Homes on Canberra's north side were flooded after heavy rain. - ABC

A deluge has brought parts of Canberra to a standstill and left some residents counting the cost as their homes flooded.

After a night of high winds and rain, Canberrans woke up on Sunday to more wet weather, which caused flash flooding through the morning.

Sixty millimetres of rain were recorded in the space of an hour at Sullivan's creek, just off Lake Burley Griffin, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

Just before 1:30pm, BOM cancelled the severe thunderstorm warning in place for the ACT, but warned Port Macquarie, Taree, Orange, Bathurst, Walgett and Dubbo could experience flash floods.

The ACT Emergency Services Agency said they had responded to more than 150 requests for assistance as a result of the storms, mainly regarding localised flooding and a few calls about roof damage.

The city's north has been hit particularly hard, with apartments and homes flooded in O'Connor.

One resident said by the time she and her partner saw the flood warning, it was already too late.

"When we looked out the window it had already flooded and it came much quicker than we thought it would," she said.

"It started coming out of the drains, it started coming out of the cupboards — we just couldn't stop it.

"It was too fast, so we got out. We've got a little one, we don't want to mess around."

North-side suburbs hit hard

Another man, who moved in at the start of the month after relocating with his partner from Adelaide, was left devastated.

"I opened the door and the whole room just flooded," he said.

"Unbelievable. Shattering, absolutely shattering. Certainly not how we'd like to spend our first few weeks here."

Roads in Lyneham, Dickson, O'Connor, Turner and many more suburbs were rendered completely inaccessible.

A long stretch of Northbourne Avenue was closed off, with police advising people to avoid the area.

Police also closed off Majura Parkway and suggested people with livestock in the area near the airport should check on them and move them if necessary.

ACT SES chief officer Georgeina Whelan said all of their teams had been deployed across the ACT to help with the ongoing clean-up.

"We are expecting that we might get some more rain this afternoon [but] certainly not as heavy as experienced this morning," she said.

"Nevertheless, we do want the stormwaters to subside, so we're asking people not to take any risks other than what is absolutely necessary."

Royal Canberra Show must go on

The miserable conditions and travel issues were bad news for organisers of the Royal Canberra Show, which had its final day in the northern suburb of Mitchell.

Many events had to be postponed for safety reasons, but they restarted what they could after the rain eased.

"It's unfortunate, the rain this morning. We didn't need it," Royal National Capital Agricultural Society president Michael Kennedy said.

"We've had people travel from Queensland [and] South Australia to compete, so we'll take a pause. Anything that's affecting OH&S-wise we'll take a pause and have a look, but we're open.

"These are country people — it rains, they like the rain. It's a bit unfortunate for us [because] we get wet feet, but we're going ahead."

Mr Kennedy said there were no jumping or speed events held on Sunday and the grand parade was also called off, to protect the safety of the animals.


© ABC 2018

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