Three people have died and one is missing after a huge storm caused widespread flooding and devastation across Australia’s east coast during the weekend.
Thousands of people had to be evacuated across the region after the massive storm hit large areas of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory on Saturday and Sunday, uprooting trees and leaving thousands more without power.
Residents remained under threat as flood waters rose in the wake of the storm, closing roads and bridges and, flushing out dangerous wildlife.
“We haven’t just seen a lot of rain, we’ve had very strong winds and a lot of trees down, and the power has been out for up to a day in some areas,” NSW State Emergency Services (SES) spokesman Matt Reeves told CNN.
“It’s very widespread, it certainly hasn’t been a localised event, so really from the north coast of NSW literally to the south coast.”
The storm has now moved south through Victoria to Tasmania, where record floods have already been recorded.
The storm has left a trail of destruction in its wake, with three men killed in three separate incidents in NSW and the ACT.
Two men were confirmed dead by NSW Police yesterday after their cars became trapped in flood-waters in different parts of the state. One man died at Bowral, in the state’s south, and another to the southwest of Sydney, according to a statement issued by the NSW Police, which noted that the men were yet to be identified.
“It is a tragedy these two lives have been lost,” acting Assistant Commissioner Kyle Stewart said in an accompanying statement.
“We simply do not know how either of these two men came to be in the flood waters. But what we know is that their deaths show just how dangerous flood waters are.”
Another man was also confirmed dead in the nation’s capital, Canberra, in the ACT, yesterday, after rescue teams found his body trapped in a car in a swollen river, according to a statement on the ACT police website.
Police said they had been alerted to a car caught in flooding in the Cotter dam but that, “due to the severe weather conditions, fast-rising and moving water, the man was unable to be rescued.”