Sydney is preparing for dangerous flash flooding as population centers farther north begin a massive cleanup operation
The torrential rain — as much as 20 centimeters (8 inches) — is forecast for Australia’s largest city and surrounding areas late Wednesday and early Thursday, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.
“In the Sydney area, we have minor to major flood warnings current,” meteorologist Dean Narramore said.
In the New South Wales town of Lismore, 600 kilometers (370 miles) north of Sydney, a third death was confirmed on Wednesday as floodwaters recede. A man’s body was found floating in a main street, a police statement said.
The population of 28,000 people was inundated when Wilsons River peaked Monday afternoon at its highest level since records began in 1880.
Authorities expect the death toll to rise in Lismore and its surrounds as the floodwaters drain from homes and searchers knock on doors.
Dozens of suburbs remain flooded in Brisbane, Australia’s third-most populous city 750 kilometers (470 miles) north of Sydney, after the river that snakes through its center peaked on Monday.
The Queensland state capital had received 80% of its average annual rainfall within a few days.
The cleanup effort is underway and 8,000 volunteers had enlisted for what is known as the Mud Army, which helps those who were inundated.
Queensland has accounted for nine of the deaths from the flooding disaster that has resulted from a low-pressure system that is moving south.