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Coastal erosion expected as damaging winds conclude wet weekend

Areas of the South Coast recorded rainfalls in excess of 200 millimetres from Friday to Monday morning. More than 276 millimetres was recorded at Mongarlowe, 220 millimetres at Wattamolla and 215 millimetres at Moruya.

The rain was relatively evenly spread across Saturday and Sunday, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jiwon Park said.

Wind, rain and powerful waves were present at Dee Why Beach on Monday morning.

Wind, rain and powerful waves were present at Dee Why Beach on Monday morning.Credit:Nick Moir

“We were anticipating the heaviest rain around Bega, but then the rain ended up hitting north at Moruya,” he said.

On Sunday night, the State Emergency Service (SES) issued evacuation orders for Moruya, Sussex Inlet Terara, East Nowra, Worrigee and North Nowra amid fear of flooding on the Moruya and Shoalhaven rivers.

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Member for Bega Andrew Constance told 2GB on Monday morning the damage in the area was less than originally expected after floods peaked at lower levels than originally expected. At Moruya, where river peaks of 2.9 metres were expected, levels instead only reached 2.1 metres.

The flood warning for the Moruya River was downgraded to minor on Monday, with SES crews focusing their attention on the Shoalhaven River.

“We’ve gone fires, COVID, recession, we had a COVID outbreak and now these very heavy rains,” Mr Constance said.

He described the situation for South Coast locals as “nerve-wracking”, but urged locals to follow the SES’s advice and not drive into floodwaters.

“We have quite a lot of fire victims who live west of the Princes Highway and will be cut off for a few of days … that’s a problem in itself, we constantly see in this situation people who drive into floodwaters.”

An SES spokesperson said they had received 1315 requests for assistance across the state since 7pm on Friday, most in the South Coast area.

Volunteers completed 36 flood rescues over the weekend, including 24 in the past 24 hours.

Sunday was the wettest day of the weekend in Sydney, with most of the city’s rain falling in the south-west.

More than 50 millimetres of rain fell at Campbelltown between 9am Sunday and 7am on Monday. Bankstown recorded 41 millimetres and Horsley Park 38 millimetres within the same period.

“There will be just a few showers across the eastern part of NSW; nothing like what we saw on the weekend,” Mr Park said.

A severe weather warning for the Sydney, Illawarra and Hunter and mid North coasts remained in place on Monday as the trough which caused the weekend’s wet weather moves off the coast.

Damaging winds averaging 60 to 70 km/h with gusts in excess of 90 km/h were occurring on the Sydney and Illawarra coasts on Monday morning and were set to head north later in the day. A damaging surf warning is in place for the Illawarra, Sydney and Hunter coast, with fears of coastal erosion in these areas.

“We are now starting to see a few jobs in Sydney, as the wind picks us,” an SES spokesperson said. There were reports of trees down at Miranda and Grays Point in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire on Monday morning.

There is also a warning for hazardous surf conditions at Port Macquarie, Newcastle, the Central Coast, Sydney, Wollongong, Huskisson and Ulladulla, with wave heights expected to exceed five metres. The Bureau of Meteorology advised people to stay away from the beach on Monday.

Sydney was expected to reach a maximum of 15 degrees on Monday, with southerly winds of 30 to 45 km/h setting in during the afternoon.

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