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Thousands more evacuated as floodwaters rise around Sydney

Thousands more evacuated as floodwaters rise around Sydney
Floodwaters cut off a road in southwestern Sydney on Sunday after torrential rain and damaging winds hit New South Wales. Photo by Mick Tsikas/EPA-EFE

July 4 (UPI) -- Thousands of additional residents on the outskirts of Sydney were evacuated from their homes Monday as floodwaters continued to rise in the Australian state of New South Wales.

The number of evacuation orders covering areas northwest and southwest of the city jumped from 44 to 97 on Monday, affecting a total of about 45,000 people, New South Wales emergency services minister Steph Cooke told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

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"Sydney so far has missed out on the worst but it doesn't mean it's out of the woods yet." she said. "We still have broad warnings from just south of Nowra all the way up to just south of Newcastle at the moment."

State officials have approved disaster funding for 23 local areas in the region as weather forecasters predicted a further 4 inches of rain could fall in the next 24 hours across Sydney and Newcastle.

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Sixty flood warnings were in place by early Tuesday local time as officials watched with concern as the Hawkesbury River northwest of Sydney continued to rise, threatening more flash flooding along the country's Central Coast.

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The rains have triggered overspills on all of the major dams in Sydney's water network, according to utility WaterNSW.

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Officials said they are closely monitoring Warragamba Dam, Sydney's main water source, which began spilling early Sunday. The spill rate has since fallen to 380 gigaliters per day from a high of 515 gigaliters, they said.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said Monday he has requested 100 more Australian Defense Force officers to help with evacuations and emergency efforts, doubling the number currently on duty across northwest Sydney.

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