The severe storm lashing Sydney has resulted in three tragic deaths as torrential rain and strong winds continue to batter the city.
A 14-year-old boy, a State Emergency Service volunteer and a male driver were killed as a month’s worth of rain was dumped on the city, bringing down trees and power lines, grounding flights and causing destruction to roads and homes.
Wednesday saw the heaviest rain in three years spark flooding across Sydney and surrounding areas, but it’s hoped conditions will begin to ease on Thursday and into Friday — allowing emergency services to start a huge clean up operation.
Tragically, NSW police confirmed a passenger – widely reported to be a 14-year-old boy – died in a horrific two-car collision in Thornleigh in the city’s north at 9.10am on Wednesday.
“Emergency services were called to a two-vehicle crash at The Esplanade, Thornleigh, and found a male passenger had died at the scene,” police said in a statement. “The drivers, also both male, have been taken to Westmead Hospital in a stable condition. Both will undergo mandatory blood and urine tests.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Telegraph reports a male SES volunteer, believed to be aged in his 40s, collapsed and died while assisting with the floods. He had reportedly suffered a fatal heart attack.
STORM UPDATE: Crews worked into the night to restore power after yesterday’s wild weather. This morning only 275 customers in Sydney are without power. Thanks for your patience as we continue repairs to damage on the network. #SydneyStorm pic.twitter.com/I4BM7cdyDD
— Ausgrid (@Ausgrid) November 28, 2018
And elsewhere, a male driver died when his car smashed into a pole on Old Prospect Road at South Wentworthville in Sydney’s west at around 7pm on Wednesday, NSW Police confirmed.
They said in a statement: “Emergency services were called to Old Prospect Road after reports that a vehicle had left the road and struck a pole.
“The male driver was treated at the scene but could not be revived. The male passenger was not injured in the crash.”
Two police officers were also injured on Wednesday while assisting motorists on a flooded road in Sydney’s north.
While trying to assist, a tree fell on two of the police officers and their car. NSW Police confirmed a male Leading Senior Constable escaped with minor injuries, while a female Probationary Constable is said to have sustained serious injuries, including a suspected broken leg.
STORM UPDATE: Crews are still working to restore power to about 1,200 customers in Sydney tonight. There have been more than 200 reported hazards on the network today. This is Plunkett Road, Mosman where a large tree has fallen and brought powerlines down. #SydneyStorm pic.twitter.com/Y6ghQnTZov
— Ausgrid (@Ausgrid) November 28, 2018
“She was treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics and has been taken to Royal North Shore hospital in a serious but stable condition,” police added in a statement.
Cops have since described the weather conditions as “horrendous” and warned people to take extra care on the roads, as the bad weather only very slowly eases off.
Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy, Traffic & Highway Patrol Commander, said in a statement that they were some of the worst conditions he had ever seen in the city.
“Drivers need to consider reducing their speed to make sure they have enough braking distance for themselves and for the vehicle in front, and to drive to the conditions,” he said. “We can’t stress enough that motorists should never attempt to drive through floodwaters or cross flooded causeways.”
Ausgrid’s official Twitter page has been sharing photos of the clean up operation throughout, showing trees lying across roads and flooded streets. Meanwhile, Sydney Airport tweeted that there are still flight delays for many domestic and international flights on Thursday morning “due to weather conditions”.
The New South Wales capital received over 100mm of rain in mere hours on Wednesday morning, around 20mm more than the usual average for the whole of November.