A police operation is underway to retrieve the man’s body after he was found in a submerged vehicle in floodwaters at Cobbity, southwest of Sydney, shortly before 8am Friday.
More than 150 NSW schools have been closed after a torrential downpour prompted evacuations in Sydney’s south and southwest.
Residents have been ordered to evacuate houses and caravan parks after forecasters predicted major flooding for parts of the state.
Evacuation orders were issued on Friday for people in Cornwallis and the eastern part of Richmond lowlands as well as low-lying parts of Cattai, Pitt Town, Pitt Town Bottoms and Agnes Banks.
Residents in Camden and Chipping Norton in Sydney’s southwest and Woronora, Bonnet Bay and Gronos Point were earlier ordered to evacuate as floodwaters began to rise on Thursday.
People were also warned to prepare for evacuation in parts of Ebenezer, Emu Plains, Mulgoa, Sackville North, Pitt Town Bottoms, Camden, Elderslie, Wallacia Weir and North Richmond for fear of being trapped without power and water.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said close to 2400 people were subject to evacuation orders on Friday morning, with more than 17,000 being warned to prepare for evacuations.
“Despite the substantial flooding that we’ve seen across our state, what is incredibly pleasing has been that we’ve only lost a very few amount of lives, and that has occurred because of the efforts that everyone has made across our state in following the instructions of the SES,” Perrottet said before the man’s body was discovered.
Emergency Services Minister Steph Cooke said the state was experiencing flood fatigue but people needed to keep following the advice of emergency services.
“It will stop raining, it will get better,” Ms Cooke said.
“We just need to keep (getting) through this one day at a time.”
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Jane Golding said the rain would ease somewhat on Friday after downpours on Thursday.
“We do have flood warnings current though, so although the rain is easing … we do have major flood warnings for some sites,” she said.
“The rivers will be moving quickly (and) there’s a lot of debris flowing around.”
The SES received close to 1200 requests for assistance and conducted 35 rescues in the past 24 hours.
“Across a population base the size that we had under warning areas, 35 is actually quite a low number and we are really grateful for the community for listening,” NSW SES acting commissioner Daniel Austin said.
More than 1200 SES volunteers have been on the ground as catchments react quickly to heavy rain causing flash flooding.
Major flood warnings are in place for rivers in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley and the NSW Central and South Coast.
Water is also spilling over Warragamba Dam, which was at capacity when the downpour started.
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