Roads closed and homes flooded as downpour dumps on Australia’s east coast

Heavy rainfall is lashing the east coast of Australia this morning after flash flooding in Canberra shut down roads on Sunday and forced “devastated” residents to flee their homes.

Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT are farewelling the final days of summer with a drenching after what had so far been a very dry February.


The rain has been triggered along the country’s east coast as a result of a cold front associated with a low-pressure system south of Australia.

There is plenty of rain headed for the east coast this week, and it’s set to stay. (WeatherZone)

In Sydney, it’s a wet and chilly start to the working week, after a month’s worth of rain was dumped on the city overnight.

More than 60mm was recorded at Observatory Hill – the heaviest rainfall the city has seen since last winter, and almost twice the total rainfall for the month to date.

The downpour is set to continue this morning, with strong winds also expected along the coast in Sydney and the Illawarra.

Tthe Bureau of Meteorology has warned gale-force winds could wreak havoc along the coast in the Coffs, Macquarie and Hunter regions. People in these locations are being advised to stay out of the surf and avoid walking near surf-exposed areas, with huge swells hitting the coastline.

Sydney is set for plenty of rain this week. (9NEWS)Sydney is set for plenty of rain this week. (9NEWS)Queensland is also tipped to cop a massive downpour. (9NEWS)Queensland is also tipped to cop a massive downpour. (9NEWS)

There is some relief in sight, however, with the downpour expected to ease to showers in Sydney this afternoon, before clearing for a mostly sunny day tomorrow.

Canberra was hit hard by the downpour on Sunday, leaving some residents counting the cost as their homes flooded.

The Australian National University (ANU) has been forced to close today due to flooding, cancelling all classes and warning students and staff to stay away from campus.

It's a wet commute to work for Sydneysiders this morning. (9NEWS)It’s a wet commute to work for Sydneysiders this morning. (9NEWS)

“The closure is to ensure the safety of all students and staff as the University conducts essential safety checks on infrastructure including bridges, creek banks and electrical switchboards,” the university said in a statement.

Sixty millimetres of rain were recorded in the space of an hour at Sullivan’s Creek just off Lake Burley Griffin, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

The BOM cancelled an earlier severe thunderstorm warning in place for the ACT, but warned Port Macquarie, Taree, Orange, Bathurst, Walgett and Dubbo could experience flash floods.

The ACT Emergency Services Agency said they had responded to more than 150 requests for assistance as a result of the storms, mainly regarding localised flooding and a few calls about roof damage.

Canberra’s north has been hit particularly hard, with apartments and homes flooded in O’Connor.

One resident said by the time she and her partner saw the flood warning, it was already too late.

Storm water drains overflowed. (9NEWS)Storm water drains overflowed. (9NEWS)

“When we looked out the window it had already flooded and it came much quicker than we thought it would,” she said.

“It started coming out of the drains, it started coming out of the cupboards. We just couldn’t stop it.

“It was too fast, so we got out. We’ve got a little one, we don’t want to mess around.”

Another man, who moved in at the start of the month after relocating with his partner from Adelaide, was left devastated.

“I opened the door and the whole room just flooded,” he said.

The difficult conditions saw a number of crashes on Sydney's roads overnight. (9NEWS)The difficult conditions saw a number of crashes on Sydney’s roads overnight. (9NEWS)

“Unbelievable. Shattering, absolutely shattering. Certainly not how we’d like to spend our first few weeks here.”

Roads in Lyneham, Dickson, O’Connor, Turner and many more suburbs were rendered completely inaccessible.

A long stretch of Northbourne Avenue was closed off, with police advising people to avoid the area.

Police also closed off Majura Parkway and suggested people with livestock in the area near the airport should check on them and move them if necessary.

ACT SES chief officer Georgeina Whelan said all of their teams had been deployed across the ACT to help with the ongoing clean-up.

The miserable conditions and travel issues were bad news for organisers of the Royal Canberra Show, which had its final day in the northern suburb of Mitchell on Sunday. Many events had to be postponed for safety reasons, but they restarted what they could after the rain eased.

Roads became flooded as a month's worth of rain fell in just a few hours.Roads became flooded as a month’s worth of rain fell in just a few hours.

Brisbane rivers also threatened to flood over the weekend, after 136mm of rain fell in 24 hours – the heaviest February rain in 28 years.

Cars became stranded on flooded Townsville roads on Sunday after the Bohle River burst its bank.

Warrill Creek with the nearby Logan and Albert Rivers have all exceeded their minor flood levels over the last few days. Fortunately, these are expected to fall over the next few days.

In Narangba north of Brisbane, a seven-year-old boy was sucked into a storm water drain and washed along for 200 metres while trying to retrieve his sister’s gumboot.

A minor flood warning for the north Queensland river, issued by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM), remains in place.

More rain has been forecast into the week for northern and eastern parts of Queensland.

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