The recent downpour experienced in New South Wales has resulted in floods described by some as the most devastating to occur in New South Wales in recent decades with some areas experiencing more than 400 mm of rain, equivalent to more than three times the average that Sydney usually receives during the month of March.
DataSpark decided to take a deeper look into some of the worst affected areas in both greater metropolitan Sydney and regional New South Wales. In this analysis, the unique daily stays in the areas of North Richmond, Port Macquarie, Taree and Windsor were analysed over a twelve-day period. The criteria for someone to be considered as a unique daily stay was that they had to be in the area for at least 15 minutes.
It can be observed in each location that after the New South Wales State Emergency Services (SES) issued flood evacuation orders, a proportion of residents in each area followed orders and evacuated the area. From the peak during the twelve-day period, each area saw reductions in unique daily stays of at least 25% with the largest decrease occurring in Port Macquarie, where a decrease of 37% of unique daily stays occurred. Noticeably, the number of unique daily stays in each area began to decline prior to evacuation orders being issued, indicating that some residents may have evacuated once the SES began to issue flood warnings.
As the rains have gradually eased and with flood waters receding in recent days, residents of Port Macquarie and Taree have begun to return home, where it can be observed that the number of unique daily stays has exceeded the peak prior to the floods which may indicate that some SES personnel are also in the area assisting with the recovery. The areas of North Richmond and Windsor have seen residents begin to return also, albeit at a slower pace.
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