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NSW drenched and roads closed as 40,000 people told to evacuate

Severe thunderstorms and heavy rain continue to lash metropolitan Sydney, Illawarra and the South Coast today, with flash flooding closing roads and causing mass evacuations.

There are currently 59 evacuation orders in place affecting 40,000 people; and 15 evacuation warnings, impacting a further 20,000 people.

Sydney received 95.4mm of rain during the 24 hours to 9am Tuesday, making it the wettest start to the year on record.

Winds of up to 90km/h are also expected to hit Sydney.

The Roseville Bridge has flooded, with wild scenes of water cascading over the sides like a waterfall. This has brought about major delays on Warringah Road. As the water struggles to drain off the bridge, there are reports of cars becoming trapped.

The bridge, in Sydney’s Upper North Shore, usually has a 17-metre clearance from the water below and is one of only two points to cross Middle Harbour, connecting the city’s Northern Beaches with the north shore.

Flooding on the M5. Photo: 9News

A section of the M5 Citybound tunnel to Sydney airport also filled with water overnight, closing a 29km stretch of the road. Both directions on the M5 East Motorway between King Georges Road and General Holmes Drive, from Beverly Hills to Mascot, were closed to traffic.

Tragically, the bodies of a mother, 67, and son, 34, were recovered at Coopers Creek at Wentworthville, bringing the death toll of the current flood emergency to eight across NSW – and 21 deaths across NSW and Queensland.

The NSW Rural Fire Service revealed this afternoon that it already has around 400 firefighters responding to multiple callouts around Sydney, Illawarra and South Coast.

For the latest flood advice, please visit the Bureau of Meteorology Facebook page. For the latest road closures, please click here.

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