Sydney orders thousands to evacuate as heavy rains cause flash floods

A landslide caused by torrential rain closes one lane of Lawrence Hargrave Drive at the Seacliff Bridge in Coalcliff, south of Sydney, Thursday.

SydneyTorrential downpours pummeled Australia's east coast on Thursday with Sydney receiving nearly a month's rain overnight, turning suburban roads into rivers and triggering evacuations as authorities warn of more to come through the day.

A man swept away by floods in the city's northwest was rescued by emergency crews, media reported, while television footage showed vehicles struggling to cross waterlogged streets, fallen power lines and trees, and debris floating in rivers.
Residents of a nursing home were evacuated overnight as emergency crews urged the harbor city's 5 million residents to avoid unnecessary travel and brace for possible evacuations.
    "This is a highly dynamic situation. These events are moving exceptionally quickly," New South Wales emergency services Acting Commissioner Daniel Austin said during a media briefing. "Exceptionally sharp, short bursts of rain" have been creating flash flooding almost every hour, he said.
      Sydney has received 1,227 millimeters (48 inches) of rain so far this year, more than its average annual rainfall of 1,213 millimeters. Over the next 24 hours, many coastal towns could get up to 180 millimeters, the Bureau of Meteorology said.