First fatality of NSW floods as man dies after car swept into creek in Sydney’s north-west | Australia east coast floods 2021 From “World news | The Guardian”

A man has died after his car became trapped in flood waters in Sydney’s north-west marking the first fatality of this week’s “catastrophic” weather event.New South Wales police said emergency services were called to Cattai Ridge Road in Glenorie after 6am on Wednesday to reports of a car in trouble. When they arrived the vehicle wasn’t visible so authorities began searching Cattai Creek.Seven hours later they located the car and found a man’s body inside. Police said he was yet to be formally identified.Australia floods: evacuations continue across flooded parts of NSW – video“A crime scene has been established and a report will be prepared for the information of the coroner,” a police spokesperson said in a statement.The prime minister, Scott Morrison, said it was “horrible news”. “This is a terribly sad day for his family,” he told parliament. Earlier on Wednesday, the NSW premier, Gladys Berejiklian had said it was “simply a miracle” that no one had died in the floods to date.Emergency services across Australia have been urging people never to drive through flood water. The Queensland transport department even published a video of a car being taken by flood waters near Springbrook on the Queensland-NSW border as a warning. The driver car was safely rescued.The New South Wales state emergency service has received more than 11,000 calls for assistance during the floods including 976 flood rescues across the state.Queensland has recorded 1,405 requests for assistance between Sunday and Wednesday morning, the vast majority coming from the Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast regions. SES crews there have assisted in five flood rescues.While there is still a significant danger of flooding in both states it appears the worst of the rain has passed.But now, the border town of Mallacoota, in far eastern Victoria, is taking a battering. Just over a year after black summer bushfires ripped through East Gippsland, more than 1,000 residents have been left without power as the area was inundated with 100mm of rain and hit with strong winds. A low-pressure system is moving south from NSW, prompting the Bureau of Meteorology to issue severe weather warnings for coastal areas in Gippsland and the Otways.According to the Ausnet website, 1,067 residents in Mallacoota were affected by a downed power line. The Otway coast, west of Melbourne, was forecast to have some heavy rainfall on Wednesday and there are also flood watches for central Victoria, west Gippsland and the Snowy River region.But overall, conditions were improving as the low-pressure system moved to the southeast.“The rain is continuing, it has eased through east Gippsland and I don’t think we’re going to see much more out there,” senior forecaster Keris Arndt said. “Through central parts … we’re likely to see a little bit more but everything is easing off generally.”But the recovery effort across Australia is likely to stretch past Easter as flood waters continue to flow downstream.Around 24,000 people have been evacuated from their homes, including some 400 residents of Moree in northern NSW, where the Mehi River was set to peak on Wednesday night.The Moree plains mayor, Katrina Humphries, described the atmosphere as being like “waiting for a baby”.“A very big baby,” she laughed. “People are potentially going to have damage to their homes, their livestock, and that’s the great unknown with this. There’s no stopping it [but] there’s a lot of sandbagging and things going on. We’re doing the very best that we can.”Humphries said “the loss of life is the number one thing we fear”. “But having two or three meters of water for us is no fun, moving livestock as well. The mess and the smell, the spiders, centipedes and snake that come looking for high ground.”But Humphries said there could be silver lining. “The good thing is that we’ve had this horrible mouse plague and that’s gonna fix it. The mice have been absolutely horrific,” she said.A number of major, moderate and minor flood warnings remain in place across NSW with other areas of concern including the Upper Hunter around Singleton, Grafton, parts of the Central Coast and the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment north-west of Sydney.The Bureau of Meteorology predicts there will be no major rain for at least a week, paving the way for the army and emergency service workers to get essential supplies to isolated communities, particularly in North Richmond on Sydney’s fringe where flood waters continue to rise.The cleanup effort will be coordinated by the state’s deputy premier, John Barilaro, with the SES, Rural Fire Service, the Australian Defence Force as well as Resilience NSW.Berejiklian said she was grateful for the reprieve from the record-breaking rainfall that plunged the state into its fourth crisis in as many years, after drought, bushfires and the Covid pandemic. But she noted this was not the time to be complacent.“The currents are strong, the rivers are rising … life won’t be normal for a lot of people for a long time,” the premier said. “I’m not going to pretend that the cleanup and recovery will be easy.”- with Australian Associated Press

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