Tens of thousands of people in Sydney have been forced to evacuate their homes amid severe flooding in eastern Australia.
Extreme downpours in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland over the past two weeks have resulted in deluges that have killed at least 20 people.
In Sydney, two people have been killed as the threat to the city intensified in recent days following widespread flash-flooding.
The victims – understood to be a 67-year-old woman and her 34-year-old son – were discovered in Sydney canal on Tuesday, March 8.
It's believed that water levels in the canal had risen 'from ankle-deep to above neck height in a matter of minutes', per the BBC.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said that 40,000 people had been ordered to evacuate in the Sydney suburbs, as well 10,000 elsewhere in the state, with another 20,000 on standby for evacuation orders should the situation worsen.
In a press conference, Perrottet urged residents to follow instructions and to avoid driving through flood waters.
The State Emergency Service said more than 2,500 people had phoned for help in the past 24 hours, with Australia's Defence Forces already deployed to assist with rescue operations.
There are fears that a dam in a northern suburb of the city could be set to overspill, while a river in the southwest has also breached its banks following 16 straight days of rain.
Videos and images posted to social media have showed cars stranded on highways and streets that have been inundated with water, while landslides and hazardous waves have also been reported.
'We had a guy walking through last night, with water up to his neck. We picked him up and took him to the end of the street, we’ve had people stuck in their houses, who had initially decided to wait out the flood but found they couldn’t,' one resident told The Guardian.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has warned that conditions are set to worsen into the evening, with gusts of up to 110 km/h possible in coastal areas.
The flooding comes as Sydney experienced its wettest summer on record, with the previous high benchmark set back in 1956.
Experts say that flooding in the region has been worsened by a combination of climate change and the effects of the La Niña weather phenomenon, which increases the likelihood of rain, cyclones and cooler temperatures in Australia.
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