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article imageSydney deluge stuns the city

By Paul Wallis     Nov 27, 2018 in Environment
Sydney - When you see a picture of Sydney Harbour Bridge and it takes you a minute to realise it's not a black and white picture, you know that’s heavy rain. Some stunning pictures are emerging from the big deluge.
Sydney gets very heavy rain once in a while, but today was the exception. 91 mm of rain fell in 90 minutes. For the first time in nearly 40 years living in Sydney, I heard police and emergency services to advise people to stay off the roads before the big rainstorm.
Flooding, flight delays, power outages and a lot of road accidents have a story so far, and it's not over yet. Some police were injured by a falling tree, and the police are also not happy about "idiot" drivers, probably a euphemism, making things worse.
That 91 mm also translates into roughly the whole months’ worth of rain for Sydney. Other areas got up to 111 mm in roughly the same timeframe. The locals have been complaining bitterly for some time about flooding during heavy rains, and those complaints have now been fully vindicated.
For me, looking at the pictures and seeing places where I used to live and work getting flooded out is quite an experience. One place where I used to live, Wentworth Park in inner-city Glebe, is now a small lake. My old morning commute through Devonshire Tunnel at Sydney Central railway station is now a pleasant paddle through water covered tiles, and another of my commuting waypoints, Sydney's famous Circular Quay, is barely visible at all in some of the pictures. Bizarrely, one Twitter user also reports water coming out of Woolworths near Town Hall, my old local supermarket. Water coming OUT? Glad I missed it.
Sydney commuters will definitely not be pleased. The city’s overloaded road and rail network is pernickety enough at the best of times, and big delays won't help. With a sort of karmic inevitability, major commuter arteries have been severely hit, notably the much loathed Parramatta Road, always a tough morning commute even on public transport, which is also now a boating regatta in some areas and the road is reported cut out west, near Concord.
The other well-known Sydney hazard in wet weather, fallen trees, have also been making their mark, hitting cars and damaging power systems. In past storms, fallen trees have taken ages to be removed and have created absolute havoc around the city. This time looks no different, possibly worse.
The cleanup will be tough, but fortunately this big rainstorm didn't stick around. If it had, the city and suburbs could have turned into one very large swimming pool.
More about Sydney rain November 28, Sydney weather, Sydney city power outages
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