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Wild NSW weather forces evacuations on South Coast, sinkhole opens up in Sydney's east

By Ainslie Drewitt-Smith and Emma Elsworthy, Tuesday July 28, 2020 - 14:15 EST
ABC image
A truck succumbed to a Double Bay sinkhole, in Sydney's eastern suburbs. - ABC

A sinkhole has opened in Sydney's east after the area received heavy rain amid a dangerous and destructive east coast low battering NSW's coastline.



A severe weather warning for damaging winds and surf is in place and heavy rain has been falling across the state since Saturday.

A truck became stuck in the sinkhole believed to have been caused by a burst water main in Double Bay.

Shuang Wang, from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), said the severe weather was bringing winds of up to 40 kilometres an hour in Sydney.

"There's a marine warning near the Sydney basin, a strong wind warning for Sydney and dangerous surfing conditions," Ms Wang said.

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) has responded to 2,000 calls for help across NSW, with 430 of them in Sydney and the Blue Mountains.





Elsewhere, more than 300mm of rain has been recorded at Lake Conjola, 152mm at Newcastle University and 99mm at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains.

The SES is waiting to see if high tide, expected around 2:00pm today, would spark more damage in coastal areas.

"We're advising people the low is easing and moving away but just be mindful around low-lying areas certainly with flood peaks and the tidal impacts around those locations," SES spokesperson Dave Webb said.

"We are experiencing water over roads due to the conditions and because of the fire affected conditions in those areas previously, there are a lot of trees down over roads.

"People know the flash flooding areas and the low-lying areas within the locations and should limit or plan their travel around them," Mr Webb said



At Wamberal on the Central Coast, the backyards of homes at risk of collapse have been further eroded after the region was hit by heavy rain and large swells. 

Council workers have been preparing the coastline ahead for this afternoon's high tide, tearing off timber staircases that link some properties to the beach.

Resident Chris Rogers said days of heavy rain had caused further erosion at his home. 

"There's been a lot more slippage overnight for sure. Our place has moved a metre yesterday, its gone down a metre overnight," he said.

"It's the rain and how unstable everything is ... the damage has been done."



Residents of about 20 homes have been asked to evacuate and dozens more have been door knocked on the South Coast as heavy rainfall led to flooding.

Ulladulla received gale-force winds of 113km/h overnight, the BOM said.

A moderate flood warning has been issued for St Georges Basin, at Island Point Road and Sussex Inlet.





More than 6,000 homes and businesses in the Shoalhaven region remain without power after the low pressure system battered the region.

"We've got additional crews that have come down from Sydney and the Illawarra and all up we have about 130 people working on trying to restore the power," Endeavour Energy spokeswoman Janine Cullen said.

"Sanctuary Point still has about 1,600 homes without power and there are 800 homes still to restore power to at Bawley Point.

"We will try to restore the power as quickly as we can but in some of the areas that are flood affected, sometimes the trees and branches have bought down the power lines and we have got to rebuild the infrastructure."





Shoalhaven Councillor Bob Proudfoot said the Sanctuary Point and Sussex Inlet areas are experiencing flooding every few years.

"That's the price people pay for living in a beautiful area," he said.

"In hindsight, perhaps some of these homes should never have been built but that's where they live now so they can only try and get a quality of life that they love.

"Every couple of years that's interfered with by nature," Mr Proudfoot said.


- ABC

© ABC 2020

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