Sydney looks set to be smashed by another torrential downpour with twice the amount of rain originally forecast, bringing more flash floods and power outages.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning late on Tuesday for parts of the northern rivers, mid north coast, north west slopes and plains and northern tablelands forecast districts.
Sydney was expected to get drenched with 6-25mm on Wednesday and 15-35mm on Thursday, however, forecasters have increased their prediction and are now expecting about 50mm each day.
Further north, Byron Bay will see about 150mm, while the Gold Coast will get hit with 130mm, as a stationary upper trough lingers over the east coast, forecasters said.
As the weekend approaches a tropical cyclone Uesi is threatening to cause four-metre swells and coastal erosion after forming in the Coral Sea northwest of Vanuatu.
The cyclone, 1,400km off Queensland, is tracking south to south-southwest and is expected to affect conditions from Fraser Island to northern NSW.
It is forecast to weaken as it approaches the coastline and is not expected to make landfall – but winds from the storm could bring more chaos to the NSW coastline.
BOM forecaster Jordan Notarasaid: ‘The winds from the storm could cause hazardous surf conditions and coastal erosion.
‘We are not expecting conditions to be as bad as last weekend but the waves may exacerbate the coastal erosion that we have already seen.’
Flood warnings are in place in Coffs Harbour where 200mm of rain has fallen in the past 24 hours, with up to 40mm more expected today.
In the northern rivers, Byron Bay and Tweed Heads could each receive 15-50mm on Wednesday.
The BOM is saying 15-45mm is possible in Nowra on Wednesday, while on Thursday the south coast town could get 40-80mm.
Also on the south coast, Huskisson could get 20-60mm of rain on Wednesday and 40-80mm on Thursday, while Ulladulla could receive 45-90mm on Thursday.
The NSW coast was drenched over the weekend, with up to 550 millimetres of rain falling across parts of the northern rivers, mid-north coast, Central Coast, Sydney, Blue Mountains and the Illawarra.
Sydney recorded its heaviest rain in three decades and was battered by gale-force winds, with emergency services on Tuesday left to clear fallen trees, remove debris and extract cars from floodwaters.
The SES on Tuesday night said it had received some 12,951 requests for help since last Wednesday night, with 10,660 call-outs completed.
About 50,000 NSW households were still without power on Tuesday night, with Ausgrid asking customers to prepare for outages into the weekend.
Dam levels restored
Sydney’s dams are 70 per cent full after the heaviest rain in three decades – but water restrictions will stay in place.
The Warragamba Dam in Sydney’s west, which accounts for 80 per cent of the city’s water storage, is 69 per cent full, up from just 42 per cent on Friday.
The dam has increased by 553 billion litres in five days – enough to supply the whole city for a year.
The falls have been welcomed across Queensland, with storage capacity at almost 60 per cent, rising from 56.4 per cent on February 7.
Residents in New South Wales have been warned to prepare for flooding and property damage.
Those with properties at risk of inundation should raise moveable items such as furniture as high as possible onto benches or tables, placing electrical items on top, the State Emergency Service said.
Farmers on low-lying land close to rivers and creeks were urged to monitor livestock, pumps and other equipment.
In Queensland, flood warnings remain current for coastal catchments stretching from Bundaberg to the NSW border, with the southern inland also bracing for heavy falls.
The region’s catchment areas are saturated after days of rain, leading to heavy runoff and possible flash flooding, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kimba Wong says.
‘There has been significant rainfall and as the catchment is very wet, its capacity to soak up more rainfall is reduced,’ Ms Wong said.
‘So when we have the significant rainfalls that we have seen in recent days, there can be rapid responses from the rivers with the catchments so wet.’
More rain is also forecast for the drenched towns of Dalby, Oakey, Applethorpe, Warwick and Roma, which have already surpassed their average February rainfall total.
Floods take toll: Desperate search for Land Cruiser
A desperate search is under way for a motorist who was pictured driving through a fast-flowing weir in torrential rain.
A Toyota Land cruiser was captured on a security camera heading across the flooded road at Audley Weir in Sydney’s Royal National Park at 5.38pm on Sunday.
The raging water was so high that it reached the car’s side windows.
It is not known if the car or driver made it safely to the other side.
The NSW State Emergency Service uploaded the photo to Facebook on Tuesday in a desperate bid to track down the driver.
Officials said they wanted to know if the driver was safe.
The post read: ‘Okay, so we need your help please! On Sunday afternoon a 4WD was spotted entering a flooded Audley Weir.
‘We have exhausted every avenue to make sure the person in this photo is ok!
‘We have no intention of trying to get whoever this is in trouble, we just want to know that they are ok and got out alive!
‘If this is you, or you know who this is please get in touch to let us know.
‘The water was 2m deep per the flood gauge when this, and other images where taken.
‘For everyone else, PLEASE DON’T DRIVE THROUGH FLOODWATER’.
Oakey and Warwick exceeded their monthly average in a day.
‘We are expecting further showers and thunderstorms to pop up in the next couple of days, with the potential for heavy rainfall continuing through southeast Queensland,’ Ms Wong said.
‘Widespread rainfall totals (of) 50 to 100mm are not out of the question and certainly some higher rainfall total will be dotted in the mix as well as severe storm pop-up.’
Shark nets and baited hooks have been pulled from all Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast beaches, Rainbow Beach, Bribie Island and North Stradbroke Island ahead of the wild weather.
The falls have been welcomed across the Queensland water grid, with storage capacity at almost 60 per cent, rising from 56.4 per cent on February 7.
FIVE DAY WEATHER FORECAST
WEDNESDAY: Min 22. Max 28 Showers
THURSDAY: Min 22. Max 27 Showers
FRIDAY: Min 22. Max 27 Showers
SATURDAY: Min 20. Max 27 Showers
SUNDAY: Min 21. Max 27 Sunny
WEDNESDAY: Min 24 Max 29. Showers
THURSDAY: Min 23. Max 28. Showers
FRIDAY: Min 23. Max 29. Showers
SATURDAY: Min 23. Max 34 Cloudy
SUNDAY: Min 23. Max 34 Cloudy
WEDNESDAY: Min, 18. Max 28. Sunny
THURSDAY: Min, 18. Max 32. Sunny
FRIDAY: Min, 17. Max 27. Mostly sunny
SATURDAY: Min 17. Max 25 Cloudy
SUNDAY: Min 16. Max 27 Partly Cloudy
WEDNESDAY: Min 20. Max 31. Cloudy
THURSDAY: Min 21. Max 32. Sunny
FRIDAY: Min 22. Max 33. Mostly sunny
SATURDAY: Min 22. Max 30 Cloudy
SUNDAY: Min 19. Max 27 Cloudy
WEDNESDAY: Min 18. Max 25. Showers
THURSDAY: Min 18. Max 28. Showers
FRIDAY: Min 19. Max 30. Showers
SATURDAY: Min 19. Max 23 Humid
SUNDAY: Min 17. Max 24 Cloudy
WEDNESDAY: Min 18. Max 27. Showers
THURSDAY: Min 18. Max 26. Showers
FRIDAY: Min 17. Max 28. Showers
SATURDAY: Min 17. Max 29 Showers
SUNDAY: Min 16. Max 29 Showers
WEDNESDAY: Min 27. Max 33. Showers
THURSDAY: Min 27. Max 34. Storm
FRIDAY: Min 28. Max 34. Storm
SATURDAY: Min 28. Max 34 Storm
SUNDAY: Min 28. Max 34 Storm
WEDNESDAY: Min 16. Max 20. Showers
THURSDAY: Min 13. Max 20. Showers
FRIDAY: Min 15. Max 23. Showers
SATURDAY: Min 16. Max 20 Shower
SUNDAY: Min 13. Max 18 Shower
Source: Bureau of Meteorology