Experts have warned that a climate change and a La Niña weather phenomenon have exacerbated the flood emergency.
Tens of thousands of Australians have fled their homes in the wake of flood warnings covering the state’s east coast.
At a briefing on Tuesday, an official from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said Sydney faced a “tough” 48 hours as heavy rainfall, and minor to significant flooding happened across the Queensland-Victoria border.
Some 40.000 people in NSW were evacuated following Tuesday’s torrential rains, which also hit around dozens of suburbs around the Sydney metropolitan area.
NSW disaster response officer Carlene York described the flooding as unprecedented: ‘I think what’s happening, or I know what’s happening in this event, is people make decisions based on past history, and I think this event has shown there is no past history similar to this event.’ While Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Dean Narramore said more floods are expected from Queensland to Victoria.
Sydney has received almost 35mm (10in) of rain so far this year, roughly 80 percent of the annual average rainfall, official figures showed, making it the wettest start to the year on record.
Most of the deaths occurred in flooded houses or car trying to cross flooded streets.
The death toll from floods jumped to eight from the overnight discovery of two bodies in a rainwater canal off Wentworthville, west of Sydney, on Tuesday.