Fresh evacuation orders were issued for tens of thousands of Sydney residents on Monday after relentless rains triggered floods for the third time this year in some low-lying suburbs.
An intense low-pressure system off Australia's east coast is forecast to bring heavy rain through Monday across New South Wales after several places in the state were hit with about a month's worth over the weekend.
Since Sunday, about 30,000 residents in New South Wales state have been told to either evacuate or warned they might receive evacuation orders.
Frustration swelled in several suburbs in the west of Australia's largest city after floods submerged homes, farms and bridges.
"It's just devastating. We are in disbelief," Camden Mayor Theresa Fedeli said.
"Most of them have just come out of the last flood, getting their homes back in place, their businesses back in place and unfortunately we are saying it is happening again."
More than 200mm of rain have fallen over many areas, with some hit by as much as 350mm since Saturday.
Some areas could approach or exceed the flood levels seen in March 2021, and in March and April this year, the weather bureau warned. The risk of major flooding remained though the intense weather system may weaken later on Monday, it said.
An operation was underway to rescue 21 crew members from a cargo ship, which lost power south of Sydney and risked being swept ashore, local media reported.
A more powerful tugboat was heading to the location to tow the stranded ship to sea. A plan to airlift the ship’s crew to safety was abandoned because of bad weather.
"It has been a very difficult time for many months to have this flood event off the back of others. It makes it more challenging," New South Wales Premier Dominic Perrottet said during a televised media briefing.