Police are searching for a man missing in floodwaters after Sydney received its heaviest downpour in almost 20 years.
Strong winds and heavy rains from a low pressure trough are lashing NSW with the severe conditions forecast to continue.
NSW police and emergency services are searching for a man in the Hornsby region, after reports a car was swept off Sallaway Road at Galston on Sunday afternoon.
The heavy rain and flooding has forced over 60 schools across NSW close.
The State Emergency Service has also urged Sydney residents to stay home if possible, with the downpour causing widespread disruptions to train lines, light rail and ferry services as well.
There was some relief on Monday morning with floodwaters along many major rivers appearing to have dropped.
Earlier, a number of communities were urged to evacuate as water levels peaked in the heavy downpour on Sunday.
Conditions remain serious, with more rain forecast and the risk of rivers peaking still high.
Wild weather wreaks havoc across eastern NSW
The communities of North Richmond and Windsor along the Hawkesbury River face moderate flooding after a major flood peak on Sunday night before the waters began to fall.
Moderate flooding continues along the Nepean River at Menangle and Camden and a flood watch is current for the Upper Cox’s River and Mcdonald River.
Water from the Georges River was inundating Milperra and Liverpool in western Sydney in the early hours of Monday, the NSW SES said.
Residents near the Narrabeen Lagoon in northern Sydney were also urged to leave, with flooding in that area predicted to be worse than the damaging flood of 2016.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast more severe weather conditions on Monday with heavy rains, strong winds and damaging surf possible along the state’s entire coast.
Torrential rain could create potentially deadly flash floods in Sydney, Illawarra and the Central Tablelands, the bureau warned.
Emergency services have been swamped with calls since the deluge set in on Friday, while the extreme weather has caused transport chaos across Sydney.
“This wet and windy weather is really wreaking havoc on our roads today, with paramedics responding to five car accidents every hour since Friday night,” NSW Ambulance spokesman Giles Buchanan said on Sunday afternoon.
“We’ve responded to multiple trees that had fallen onto cars, trees into houses and units, and people trapped in cars in floodwaters.”
Utility companies are rushing to restore power in swamped regions, with up to 150,000 customers without electricity on Sunday night.
Ausgrid was racing to restore power to up to 13,000 home in northern suburbs of Sydney including Hornsby and Pymble, parts of the Central Coast including Ourimbah, Avoca and Wyong and a number of pockets in Greater Sydney, Newcastle and the Hunter.
“The strong rains and wind have caused more than 2400 hazards to the electricity network such as fallen power poles, large trees across roads, damaged wires and extensive flash flooding,” Ausgrid said.
Four people were hospitalised on Sunday afternoon after a tree fell on their car in the Sydney CBD.
A 16-year-old boy has been taken to hospital with suspected broken ribs after he was trapped between debris in waist-deep water for two hours in the Hunter region.
The teen was rescued by emergency services after falling into Allyn River while canoeing at about 9am on Sunday.
The NSW SES has responded to about 10,000 calls for help and rescued multiple people trapped by rising rivers and floodwaters, with Sydney and the state’s coast not having experienced this much rain since mid-2016.
“But we’ve surpassed those figures and you have to go back as far back as 1998 to see totals like we’ll get,” a weather bureau spokeswoman said.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Karen Webb urged drivers to take caution and avoid floodwaters.
“There are currently hundreds of calls for assistance, including trees, boulders or power poles down onto cars and homes, and across roads, as well as power outages and localised flooding impacting various roads and traffic lights,” she said.
“I’m disappointed that I need to remind people to act responsibly and not to take risks in these types of conditions, especially when around floodwaters.”
Dams around Sydney, including the major Warragamba Dam, are swelling to their highest levels in years.