Australia floods see 18,000 evacuated with 10m under severe weather warning

Around 18,000 Australians have been evacuated from flooding in a "one-in-a-100 year" event.

Torrential downpours have caused Sydney's rivers and dams to overflow with ten million subject to a severe weather warning.

More than 150 schools have been closed and the military has been called in to New South Wales (NSW) .

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has offered funds for those forced to flee as the rains may continue all week.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said 10 million Aussies are currently under some form of severe weather warning as two major systems collide, news.com.au reports.

“Warnings for heavy rain, damaging winds and heavy surf cover a size area similar to Alaska,” the BOM said on Monday evening.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said no deaths had been reported by late Monday – describing it as "a miracle given what we have been through" in a reference to the devastating 2019 wildfires in the region.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has said the rainfall – up to 900mm in some areas – has been "extraordinary". Many areas across NSW resembled an "inland sea", the bureau said.

The region is home to about a third of the country's 25 million people.

Ms Berejiklian said many of the communities "being battered by the floods" had been affected by bushfires and drought the previous summer, the BBC reports.

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"I don't know any time in state history where we have had these extreme weather conditions in such quick succession in the middle of a pandemic," she said.

“One in 50 year floods (are being seen) in the Sydney metropolitan area, one in 100 year floods in the mid-north coast."

Emergency services have conducted at least 750 rescues, including winching people from cars and families from the roofs of their homes.

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Pictures on Monday showed a Sydney bridge designed to be “floodproof” had ended up almost completely under water.

Locals watched on as the Windsor bridge, which was built last year, went under water following its closure the previous day.

There have also been images of dead wildlife, livestock floating through flooded areas and rows of houses engulfed up to their windows.

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On Sunday a young couple saw their house north of Sydney swept away by flash floods on what should have been their wedding day.

Authorities have issued 28 evacuation orders across the state, affecting several thousand people. Another 16 areas have been given warnings.

"What we're going through now is different to what you've been through for the last 50 years, so please take it seriously," Ms Berejiklian said at an earlier briefing.

"It's the sustained rainfall, the fact that weather event has settled in, it's not moving on, and also, of course, the capacity of the [Warragamba Dam] spillover and what that might mean," she added.

Eastern Australia is currently experiencing a La Niña weather pattern that typically brings 20% more rain.

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