More storms on the horizon for Australia’s east coast, Victoria and Tasmania on alert

By Melissa Coade

March 2, 2022

Scott Morrison
Prime Minister Scott Morrison. (AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi)

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has warned of more extreme weather making its way along Australia’s eastern seaboard, after days of rain and deadly flash floods in parts of Queensland and NSW. 

Eight people have died as a result of the recent extreme weather in Queensland, and at least two people are dead in Lismore in northern NSW which has been awash with a devastating deluge. Emergency services, CareFlight, and ADF personnel have helped to rescue more than thousands of people stranded in the floods.

Prime minister Scott Morrison said he had been briefed the ‘significant weather system’ was likely to move south over next 24 hours towards the Central Coast in Sydney, and then on to the NSW South Coast. The storm could reach as far south as Victoria’s east Gippsland and the north of Tasmania. Residents should plan for heavy inundation of rain.

“We need to be continuing to be preparing ourselves for the impacts in those regions,” Morrison told a press conference on Tuesday.

“​​Further flooding activity is expected throughout the week, and the peaks that we’ve seen, whether it’s in Brisbane or other places, are expected to continue now for several days.”

Defence minister Peter Dutton said more rescues were likely to occur based on BOM advice that the rain cell pattern was to stay in place, flooding grounds that were already saturated with water from earlier rainfall.

“I want to send a very strong and clear message to Australians, you need to take additional precautions to evacuate earlier than what you otherwise would have been,” Dutton said.

“Heed those warnings and get out early and make sure that you keep you and your family and your livestock and your assets otherwise safe.”

The PM said 600 ADF personnel were involved in supporting the rescue and recovery efforts during the flooding. Another 70 ADF personnel from Holsworthy’s fifth brigade on standby with Black Hawk helicopters to assist with the rescues the government expects will need to take place.

“We are prepositioning further ADF support all along the eastern coast of Australia. That will range from Albatross down at Nowra, all the way up through with assets coming down from Amberley to support all through the north coast and even down into the Central Coast,” Morrison said. 

Morrison commended the collaborative efforts of federal agencies with government agencies in Queensland and New South Wales and said they had adapted well to the quickly changing citation, dealing with the impact of the weather across power and communication networks, road infrastructure and clean-up planning.

On Tuesday afternoon a meeting for the national coordinating mechanism, which included Emergency Management Australia and the National Disaster Recovery and Resilience Agency, was taking place with states and territory representatives to coordinate available ADF assistance.

“The true courage and compassion that has been on display is, of course, heartening and we thank everybody for their extraordinary efforts over these last few days. I particularly want to thank the ADF for their response,” Morrison said.

 

For those whose homes and property were impacted by the freak weather, the government has extended disaster support to 35 local government areas. More than 80,000 claims to the tune of $3 million have been met.

“We wanted to ensure that that support was in place, and the Services Australia teams are positioning themselves already and increasingly in evacuation centres to provide that support,” the PM said. 

People can make inquiries about their eligibility for government support via Services Australia online or by telephone (1800 22 66).


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