Rescues, flooding as rain hits Illawarra hard

9.12pm: We’ve been asked to share this information: 

“St Joseph's Catholic High School Albion Park is OPEN tomorrow, however if parents are able to keep their child at home this would be appreciated.

“A number of classrooms have been inundated with water and will be unavailable for use. Further updates for parents are available via their 'Skoolbag' App or the website.”

8.52pm: The SES has been slammed tonight. For a glimpse at what they’ve been doing, check out this photo by the Wollongong unit. 

Meantime, in Warilla ...

8.37pm: Police are still on scene at Riley Park in Unanderra, where a search is underway for a missing boy. 

Photo: Jason Crilly

Photo: Jason Crilly

Police are concentrating their search efforts on a drain at the edge of the park, where the majority of the runoff has pooled. Read more. 

8.15pm: Wollongong City Council has updated its list of flooded roads.

Illawarra roads affected:

  • Carters Lane/Pioneer Road, Towradgi
  • Swan Street, Wollongong
  • Springhill Road (RMS controlled road)
  • Northcliffe Drive, Berkeley, opposite yacht club.
  • Marshall Mount Road, near Yallah Road intersection (closed)
  • Morrison Ave, Wombarra (tree down on road)
  • Harry Graham Drive (closed)

Please note, further roads may close without notice as conditions change. It is recommended that people avoid any unnecessary travel.

Remember, you should never drive, ride or walk through floodwater.

For emergency assistance during floods, call the SES on 132 500

8.13pm: A number of cars are trapped between rushing floodwaters on Macquarie Pass. 

8.12pm: 

8.05pm: Down south, at Jerrawangala, there are reports of a man and a baby in a tree due to rising flood waters.

The SES are sending multiple units to West Dapto where there have been a number of calls for flood rescues.

8pm: The SES is asking people to delay their journeys and stay off the roads. 

“Reports in from the Bureau of Meteorology of 30-50mm of rain per hour over the next few hours in parts of Illawarra, Southern Highlands and the southern outskirts of Sydney (including the Royal National Park)," the SES warned.

7.45pm: Car in floodwaters at Wongawilli

The SES is heading to a rescue at Wongawilli, where a car is stuck in flood waters. No confirmation of person trapped.

We’re also hearing reports of people assisting cows caught in the water at Ena Avenue at West Dapto. 

The SES is asking people to delay travel if possible or find alternative routes around flooded roads.

​7.30pm: Unanderra boy feared missing in flood waters

There are fears for an 11-year-old boy presumed swept away in flood waters at Unanderra. 

The SES, on scene, confirmed the boy was last seen riding a boogie board at flooded Riley Park off Central Avenue. Read more

7.25pm: Students, staff trapped at school due to flooding

Staff and students at Calderwood Christian School were trapped inside the school for several hours on Thursday night as emergency crews negotiated flooded roads to reach them.

‘’The volume of water was so significant there was a sense it was running up hills’’, said executive principal Tony Horsley. Read more.

7.20pm: Mullet Creek, Darkes Road inundated

Jesse Hockey sent us these photos of Mullet Creek and Darkes Road in Dapto. Be careful out there!

7.15pm: RMS road closures

In the Illawarra:

  • The Princes Highway is closed in both directions at Albion Park due to flooding at Station Road. Southbound traffic is queued for around ten kilometres. Northbound traffic is queued for around five kilometres.
  • The Illawarra Highway is closed in both directions between the Princes Highway and Tongarra Road at Albion Park.
  • Tongarra Road is closed in both directions between the Princes Highway and Terry Street at Albion Park.
  • The Illawarra Highway is closed in both directions between Broughton Avenue at Albion Park, and Jamberoo Mountain Road at Robertson.
  • New Lake Entrance Road is closed eastbound at Minga Avenue at Oak Flats. Two of three westbound lanes are also closed.
  • Northcliffe Drive is closed in both directions at Lake Heights due to flooding near Buena Vista Avenue.

In the Shoalhaven:

  • The Princes Highway is closed in both directions at Yatte Yattah north of Milton, due to flooding near Little Forest Road.
  • Only one lane is open on the Princes Highway at Burrilll Lake due to flooding at Wallaroy Drive. Stop/slow traffic control is in place.
  • In the Southern Highlands:
  • Moss Vale Road is closed in both directions at Beavan Place in Bowral.
  • Public transport:
  • Buses are replacing trains between Wollongong and Port Kembla due to flooding at Port Kembla.
  • Trains are not running between Dapto and Shellharbour Junction due to flooding at Oal Flats. Replacement buses are being organised but are not yet on site. They will not be able to reach Albion Park station due to flooded roads. Buses will travel via Warilla instead.

3.25pm - Flood rescues are underway at Albion Park and Wollongong, following significant rainfall in the Illawarra, Thursday afternoon. 

Two elderly people have been helped out of a car stuck in flood waters on Taylor Road at Albion Park. The couple was uninjured and the car will remain in position until flood waters subside. 

Westbound lanes of Five Islands Road are flooded, west of Springhill Road.

3.40pm: Flooding is severe at the intersection of Swan and Evans streets, Wollongong. 

Part of the Warrawong Plaza carpark is also flooded. 

Cars are stuck in floodwaters behind Unanderra Pool. 

Flooding is affecting the northbound on-ramp from Masters Rd to the M1 Pacific Mwy. Light vehicles cannot get through.

One of three northbound lanes on Springhill Rd are closed at Masters Rd due to flooding. Live Traffic advises drivers to slow down and exercise caution.

One of three southbound lanes on M1 Pacific Motorway is closed just past Gipps Rd due to a car crash.

3.52pm: The SES has been called to a flood rescue at Hurt Parade Unanderra. 

A rescue is underway on Springhill Road at Cringila. 

The Illawarra Highway is closed at Robertson and at Albion Park due to flooding. The Illawarra Highway is also closed in both directions due to flooding. Live Traffic advises use Tongarra Rd and Princes Hwy instead.

4.05pm: The fire brigade is at the Princes Highway in Albion Park, where floodwaters have completely inundated the roadway, and a car is stuck. 

Much of the region is in traffic gridlock, with flooding shutting down major routes. 

4.30pm: Flood rescues are underway on Station Road at Albion Park. The SES have removed people from four drowned cars. 

4.35pm: The Transport Management Centre has advised motorists to delay non-essential travel in the Illawarra and surrounding areas due to flooding and adverse weather conditions.

The centre’s advice is as follows: 

The Princes Highway is closed in both directions at Albion Park due to flooding at Station Road. Motorists are advised to delay their journeys and avoid the area.

The Illawarra Highway is closed in both directions between Tongarra Road and the Princes Highway at Albion Park due to flooding.

The Illawarra Highway is closed in both directions near Tourist Road at Robertson due to flooding.

Flood waters submerge the roadway at the corner of Swan and Evans streets, Wollongong. Picture: Adam McLean

Flood waters submerge the roadway at the corner of Swan and Evans streets, Wollongong. Picture: Adam McLean

One of three northbound lanes is closed on Springhill Road at Springhill due to flooding at Masters Road.

Motorists on Shellharbour Road at Primbee are advised to exercise extreme caution due to flooding.

4.37pm – A limited number of buses are replacing trains between Wollongong and Port Kembla on the South Coast Line due to flooding at Port Kembla. Passengers are advised to allow additional travel time and listen to announcements.

Much of the region is in traffic gridlock, with flooding shutting down major routes.

Much of the region is in traffic gridlock, with flooding shutting down major routes.

Meantime, rescuers have been called to a flood rescue on American Creek near Springhill. 

4.40pm: Authorities are investigating an unmanned inflatable boat found on American Creek at Figtree. 

4.55pm: Four horses are in flood waters on Pharlap Avenue at Kembla Grange, with water up to their bellies. The SES is responding.  

5.05pm: Albion Park has recorded more than 110mm of rainfall since 9am. 

5.25pm: The SES has received more than 220 calls for assistance, including 12 calls for flood rescues. Calls have come from Wollongong (89), Kiama (13), Shellharbour (72), Ulladulla (16) and the Wingecarribee (28)

5.32pm: The SES has been called to a rescue on the Illawarra Highway at Macquarie Pass. 

5.38pm: Unconfirmed report of a woman trapped in floodwaters on Darkes Road, Kembla Grange. 

5.42pm: SES volunteers have been called to Bong Bong Road at Horsley, where a person is trapped in a car in flood waters. 

5.44pm: We are keeping a closer watch on the traffic situation at our roads blog. Visit http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/story/4535947/traffic-update-gridlock-hits-peak-hour-commuters/?cs=300 for the latest updates. 

5.45pm: Another rescue required at Jamberoo Road, Jamberoo. 

5.47pm: Greg Murphy, SES region controller, said SES is prioritising rescues over the large number of calls to the organisation regarding flooding to property.

“Most of our resources are focusing on flood rescues and are also in traffic,” he said.  

5.55pm: Reports of teachers and students stranded at flooded Illawarra Christian School’s Calderwood campus. 

6.10pm: Rescuers are responding to a call at Jamberoo Mountain Road, where a woman is reportedly trapped, surrounded by rising flood waters. 

More to come.