Mobile Bushfire Survival Plan sign inundated by floodwater

Floodwaters have inundated many parts of New South Wales and Queensland with torrential rain, with 391.6mm falling in Sydney. Many regions now affected by flash flooding and storm damage have been battling bushfire emergencies for months. 

More than 100,000 homes and businesses are without power, and the Stae Emergency Service (SES) responded to more than 4,100 calls on Sunday alone. Emergency Warnings have been issued for flash flooding, landslips and other storm-related damage. Communities have gone straight from fighting the biggest bushfire crisis in Australia's history to combating flash flooding, storm damage and torrential rain. 

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), wild weather is set to continue with severe thunderstorm and flood warnings issued across the country. From heatwave conditions and unprecedented fire emergencies in the last weeks and months to wild and wet weather including flash flooding and severe thunderstorms, emergency services are struggling to switch gears. 

Affected areas include the South Coast and the Hunter, Central Coast, Sydney metropolitan and Northern Beaches areas and eastern parts of the Central Tablelands and the Blue Mountains, the Mid-North Coast and North Coast right up to South East Queensland in the Gold Coast, Brisbane and surrounding areas.

ABC Emergency has created a guide on Planning for an emergency: Flood including what to do before a flood, during a flood and after a flood as well as links to flood emergency services. It is important not to enter floodwater, even if it looks calm. Of the 159 flood-related deaths between 2005 and 2015, a Griffith University and Royal Life Saving combined study found more than half were people attempting to drive through floodwaters.

Rising Panic - if it's flooded, forget it.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have released an awareness campaign this month on the dangers of attempting to drive through floodwaters.

Content warning

The following video may be distressing for some viewers.  

Video description

Text appears on a black screen, it reads "based on a true story."

A man sitting in a vehicle's driver seat is talking. As he talks, floodwater quickly rises inside the cabin and is about to cover his face before the screen goes to black.

Text appears on the screen. It reads "A car can fill with water in no time. Don't get out of your depth."

A logo appears on screen with a u-turn symbol/arrow and text "If it's flooded, forget it." 

What to do

  • Do not enter floodwater. Don’t drive into it; don’t walk into it, don’t swim in it and don’t let children play in it. Flood water may appear calm and low, but it is unpredictable, may rise quickly and swift currents running underneath the surface may not be apparent. There may also debris hiding behind the surface, which can pose a real hazard.

  • If caught in floodwater, call for help immediately.

  • Stay well away from fallen powerlines. If powerlines are down, water may be electrified and unsafe to enter.

  • If evacuated, do not go home until authorities say it is safe to do so.

  • Find out where your nearest relief centre is and what the safest route is for you to get there. Pack a go-bag of essentials (if you have time) and be ready to leave quickly.

  • Let family and friends know where you are and where you are going.

  • Listen to your local radio or another local news source for up to date information.

Call for help

If you need assistance during a flood event, call your local State Emergency Service (SES)  on 132 500 or call triple-0 (000) if life is in danger.

In NSW, visit for more information. 

Useful resources

Packing for an Emergency
Disaster Relief Grants
Moving Forward After a Crisis
Disability Inclusive Disaster Preparedness in NSW

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