Wild weather has caused flash flooding in Hobart’s CBD, with cars swept away and several people requiring rescue as emergency crews responded to hundreds of calls for help.
Police say the CBD has been hit hard, forcing the closure of many roads and with more heavy rain expected on Friday, motorists are urged to stay off city roads.
A security guard at the University of Tasmania was trapped in a windowless room that was quickly filling with water at the university’s Sandy Bay campus when he was rescued.
Two people were also rescued from a car at suburban New Town after they ignored warnings and attempted to drive through flood waters.
Two evacuation centres have been set up as SES crews work to prioritise hundreds of calls for assistance.
The downpour was thought to have been the heaviest in Hobart for more than 50 years.
Flash flooding has also hit the Hobart suburbs of Blackmans Bay, Sandy Bay, and Kingston on the city’s outskirts.
— Monte Bovill (@MonteBovill) May 10, 2018
More than 13,000 properties lost power as the storms rolled in, while some vehicles were swept away after Hobart received almost 130mm of rain in the past 24 hours.
More than 30 state schools are closed for the day and most private and all Catholic schools are also shut, Graham Family Funerals said funerals in the Hobart area would be postponed on Friday.
Wrest Point hotel and casino complex near the city centre is also closed to the public as the building is without power.
“When we came down here I didn’t even see my car,” one woman told the Seven Network.
“I thought someone might have stolen it.”
Emergency services have received hundreds of calls for assistance, including wind damage to roofs and sheds and trees blown over, but there have been no reports of injuries so far, police said on Friday.
The SES has received about 300 calls for assistance, while the Tasmania Fire Service responded to more than 110 requests for help.
Watch the flash flooding below:
People have been urged to avoid non-essential travel in storm-hit areas, especially the CBD.
“Major roads in the CBD are significantly affected by floodwaters and debris, and power outages are affecting some traffic lights,” police said.
Emergency crews have been mobilised to clear the roads, but many will remain closed during this morning’s peak hour.
It has been the wettest day in Hobart since 1960, the Bureau of Meteorology’s Simon McCulloch said.
The wild weather is expected to ease on Friday afternoon.