Australia is officially in the grip of its third consecutive La Nina weather event.
La Ninas bring extreme rainfall and an increased risk of tropical cyclones across eastern Australia. The Bureau of Meteorology expects these effects will be felt into early 2023 and predicts higher than average rainfall in eastern states from November to January.
La Ninas typically last between nine and 12 months. Two consecutive La Ninas is not uncommon, but three La Ninas in a row, as we are experiencing now, is rare. With water catchments already filled and the ground saturated, this third La Nina carries the threat of further flooding across Sydney.
Riverside suburbs of Sydney are particularly at risk.
Sydney has seen four major flood events since March 2021. In March 2022, during the last La Nina event, tens of thousands of residents in Sydney’s north and southwest were ordered to evacuate as torrential rain soaked the city. Areas flooded in July 2022 have barely had time to dry out before they face flooding again. Just nine months in, 2022 is officially Sydney’s wettest year on record.
"Sydney is particularly susceptible to flooding, and due to the geographical features and the age of some of the plumbing infrastructure, minimising flood risk is hard, but not impossible," said veteran Sydney Plumber, Joe Rantino of Gladesville Plumbing.
Swollen rivers are bursting their banks and riverside suburbs are bracing for more flooding, so what should Sydney’s residents be doing to mitigate their flood risk?
A home doesn’t have to be on a flood plain to be at risk of flooding. Saturated ground and inadequate infrastructure can prevent stormwater from draining and cause water levels to rise around your home. Wherever you live in Sydney, stormwater clearing is essential. There is no doubt that NSW is facing a prolonged period of heavy rainfall, so if you live in Sydney, take action now.
If you have noticed water pooling around your home, check gutters and downpipes for damage and blockages. If you can’t clear a blockage yourself, call in a plumber to do the work for you.
Prevention is better than a cure. Keep your garden neat and install gutter mesh to keep your downpipes and drains free-flowing.
These simple actions can help prevent stormwater flooding but not a major flooding event. Always be prepared and have your flood evacuation plan ready.