An east coast low is forecast to batter Sydney with up to 150mm of rain on Tuesday with forecasters warning of possible flash flooding and damaging gusts of wind.
It comes as aerial photographs show homes in northern NSW inundated by floodwaters which is delaying recovery efforts.
The Bureau of Meteorology on Monday issued a flash flooding warning for the Sydney suburbs of North Richmond, Wisemans Ferry, Windsor, Sackville, Lower Portland and in northern NSW at Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Armidale, Tenterfield and Dorrigo.
The BoM also issued a flood warning for the Wollombi Brook, Hawkesbury-Nepean, Colo and Weir rivers.
The Bureau of Meteorology has warned residents in Sydney and northern NSW to prepare for flash flooding from Sunday until Tuesday as an east coast low moves in. From left to right, the three main weather models forecasters use show Sydney and the south coast are expected to be battered by more than 100mm of rain
Floodwater surrounded a small farm paddock with a single tractor in Coraki on Monday as locals prepare for more flash flooding
Aerial photos show homes submerged in floodwater in Coraki on Monday as the BoM warns more flashing flooding is on the way
The BoM has issued an intense and heavy rain warning covers the entire NSW coast from Coffs Harbour in the north to Bega in the south.
A BoM statement warned heavy rain on possible hail could delay flood recovery efforts in northeast NSW.
‘Severe thunderstorms over the northeast are expected to bring locally heavy to intense rain on Monday, and possibly damaging wind and hail,’ it read.
Residents in Coraki got to work on Monday by cleaning debris and damaged goods from areas clear of floodwater
Aerial photos show homes inundated by floodwater in the northern NSW town Coraki on Monday
‘This may result in further flooding and delay recovery efforts. Storms are expected to continue until at least Wednesday.’
Harsh conditions are predicted to ease on Wednesday – when the sun may finally return.
Intense flooding continued to inundate Coraki, 30km south of Lismore, on Monday.
Large parts of the northern NSW town Coraki remained inundated on Monday with more rain forecast in coming days
Roads in Coraki remained submerged on Monday as local prepare for more heavy rain to fall
A Coraki resident figured out how to transport belongings through floodwater on Monday
Photos showed homes and roads submerged in floodwater in parts of the town while other residents began a massive clean-up effort.
Meanwhile, the NSW Premier has apologised to flood-devastated communities.
Dominic Perrottet said sorry to thousands of people in the Northern Rivers district, whose homes and businesses were destroyed when towns like Lismore and Ballina were inundated by floodwaters last week.
Coraki residents took the chance to clear floodwater debris on Monday as BoM warned more flash flooding is on the way
Rural Fire Service NSW volunteers helped flood victims in Coraki clean damaged property on Monday
Many had to be rescued by fellow citizens and have since struggled to access basics such as food, water, power, fuel, phones, ATMs, the internet and medical supplies.
‘I’m very sorry … but we’re doing everything that we can,’ Mr Perrottet told the Nine Network from Lismore.
‘Some of those areas will look back at this and say it could have been done better but … we’re doing absolutely everything we can to provide care and support for those who need it to get those essential supplies in,’ he said.
The emergency response would be reviewed, he added.
Floods have claimed six lives in NSW, including four in Lismore.
The Australian Defence Force is helping with the mammoth clean-up with 512 personnel on the ground in NSW.
Some 5000 personnel will be put on task or made available in NSW and Queensland over the course of this week, as 2010 are on the ground in both states, the ADF said.
The Australian Defence Force is helping with the mammoth clean-up with 512 personnel on the ground in NSW
A soldier helps with the clean-up effort in Lismore as residents prepare for more flash flooding
‘We’re getting supplies in. We’re getting food in,’ Mr Perrottet said.
Around 2,000 of the 3,500 homes assessed so far in the Northern Rivers are no longer habitable, increasing the need for short-term and medium-to-long-term accommodation.
Telstra on Monday said it had restored about 80 per cent of mobile coverage for communities in northern NSW and 75 per cent of landline connections.
But some areas remained inaccessible due to continued flooding, road damage or a lack of electricity that is hampering the work of around 1,000 technicians.
Around 2,000 of the 3,500 homes assessed so far in the Northern Rivers are no longer habitable, increasing the need for short-term and medium-to-long-term accommodation
The northern NSW communities of Kingscliff, Main Arm, Mullumbimby, Ocean Shores, Tucabia, Uki and Wooli are among those still having issues with communications.
The State Emergency Service had another 550 calls for help overnight and performed nine flood rescues.
SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin says volunteers are waiting with ‘bated breath’ to see what Monday brings.
‘We’re certainly on high alert from the Mid-North Coast down into the Shoalhaven,’ he told the Nine Network.
‘We are watching exceptionally closely a number of catchments … around the Hawkesbury and Central Coast and places.
‘The water hasn’t retreated yet. We’re now going to see more flooding on top of what we’ve already seen.’
An Australian Defence Force soldier helps clean flood debris from a property in Lismore
Renewed flooding is likely in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley and major flooding continues in the Upper Nepean, Nepean, Hawkesbury and Colo Rivers, the SES said on Monday.
Rainfall on Monday and Tuesday could push the Nepean River at Penrith over six metres causing minor floods.
At Wiseman’s Ferry the Hawkesbury River was flooding at moderate levels on Monday morning and is likely to rise over the major flood level of 4.2 metres on Monday evening, and up to 4.4 metres through to Tuesday.
Major flooding is also taking place at North Richmond and is likely to happen at Putty Road as the Colo River is expected to exceed 10.7 metres on Monday night and continue to swell to up to 11.5 metres on Tuesday.
Rain is causing significant travel delays with cancellations expected on most Sydney Trains, NSW TrainLink Intercity and Regional train services and drivers are being urged to stay off the roads unless it’s absolutely necessary.