It was the worst flooding on the Northern Beaches in living memory. Here is the day, 8 March 2022, in review….
On Tuesday 8 March, as intense storms bringing heavy rainfall persisted along the NSW coast, the State Emergency Services (SES) issued multiple flood warnings to low-lying regions of Sydney. They included preparations to evacuate and orders to leave, for residents along the Northern Beaches whose houses are close to lagoons, reservoirs, lakes and bays.
Warringah/Pittwater and Manly SES units were stretched to their limits as they responded to flooding incidents and rescues in Collaroy, Cromer, Dee Why, Manly, North Manly and Warriewood. Water spouts (mini tornadoes) were reported out to sea.
Cars were picked up by flood waters around Manly Vale and schools, including Mackellar Girls, were evacuated. Some students at a primary in Freshwater were evacuated via boat.
At 3pm an Evacuation Warning was issued for those residing below Manly Dam, but it was quickly downgraded to amber after a key blockage was managed and the levels were lowered. At 4pm an Evacuation Order was issued for residents adjacent to Narrabeen Lagoon and evacuation centres established at Mona Vale Memorial Hall and Freshwater Surf Life Saving Club.
Manly SES Unit itself became flooded at its Balgowlah base and 500 sandbags were stuck on a truck attempting to access the property. Eventually everything was succcessfully transferred to the Warringah/Pittwater base in Terrey Hills where it then became a merged operation covering the whole Northern Beaches as one.
This evening, The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issued a new Severe Weather Warning across the Northern Beaches region (“metropolitan”) for heavy rainfall, alerting residents and motorists that it could lead to flash flooding, landslides, fallen trees and branches and debris on roads this evening. At 9.45 pm this evening no further flooding events had occurred but the damage continues with numerous landslides reported across the region, largely in the upper reaches.
At 10pm this evening, Manly Observer liaised with Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan and asked if he wanted to communicate anything to residents. He responded:
“I was really impressed with how prepared many of you were out there today. Evacuation is never easy and everyone was pitching in, helping out. I’d like to do a huge shout out to the volunteers who will be working through the night, a hug and my respect to the emergency services and council staff who are also working around the clock.
“This was an extraordinary event today. Hopefully the worst is behind us but we know the work isn’t over yet. Keep reporting those pot holes and incidents, we will get to each of them. And continue to look out for each other, as I know you will.”
How much rain was there?
While it only tells half the tale, the following rainfall was recorded across the Northern Beaches
102 mm of rainfall recorded at Mona Vale Golf Club in the 3 hours to 3:30 pm.
124 mm of rainfall recorded at Forestville in the 6 hours to 1:40 pm.
118.5 mm of rainfall recorded at Allambie in the 6 hours to 1:30 pm.
128.5 mm of rainfall recorded at Mosman in the 6 hours to 12:30 pm.
Bureau of Meteorology warnings
State Emergency Services warnings for Manly and the Northern Beaches
Reporting by Kim Smee and Alec Smart for Manly Observer.