NSW braces for possible thunderstorms and torrential rain as storm season begins

New South Wales meteorologists have warned of a “much higher risk” of flash flooding during this year’s storm season, as a major weather system heads toward the state.

Gabrielle Woodhouse of the Met Office said bad weather should hit the state by Tuesday or Wednesday next week, causing rain, thunder and possible flooding.

“We expect a fairly significant system to move across NSW,” she told reporters on Thursday.

“We’re looking forward to widespread rain and thunderstorms, and that’s obviously going to be drizzling across the already wet watershed.

“This will really exacerbate any flood risks across those areas.”

Ms Woodhouse said flash floods were “extremely dangerous” and could happen “within minutes”.

“We are seeing very humid conditions on land; there are a lot of watersheds in the floods,” she said.

“What this means is that in the coming months, when we see thunderstorms, the rain is likely to fall much more quickly – and that means you have a much higher risk of seeing flash floods.”

The office provided an update alongside NSW Emergency Services Minister Steve Cook, who said the state emergency service would adopt a new warning system for the coming months.

Cook said the new alarm system will have three levels:

  1. advice
  2. Watch and act
  3. emergency warning

Ms Cook said the new system would “provide more local and targeted communication about the risks, and clearer warnings about actions people need to take to stay safe.”

Warnings will be issued through text messages, the SES website, social media channels, and the media.

Cook said there are currently 14 flood warnings across the state.

The New South Wales government faced harsh criticism for its handling of a series of floods that devastated communities earlier this year.

The report said that both SES and recovery agency Resilience NSW “failed to provide effective leadership and coordination at a community time of greatest need”.

Heavy and continuous rains have caused devastating floods twice within just a few months of late February, killing many people and displacing thousands from their homes in many areas of the state.

“We know you are tired…we understand your concern,” Ms. Cook told flood-affected communities on Thursday.

Originally published as NSW Thunderstorm Arcs, Flash Floods Possible as Storm Season Begins

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