SYDNEY -- Sydney was preparing on Wednesday for dangerous flash flooding as population centers farther north began a massive cleanup operation after record floods that have claimed at least 14 lives along Australia’s east coast in recent days.
The torrential rain — as much as 20 centimeters (8 inches) — is forecast for Australia’s largest city and surrounding areas late Wednesday and early Thursday, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said.
“In the Sydney area, we have minor to major flood warnings current,” meteorologist Dean Narramore said.
In the New South Wales town of Lismore, 600 kilometers (370 miles) north of Sydney, a fourth death was confirmed on Wednesday as floodwaters drain from homes and searchers knock on doors.
The body of a man, aged in his 70s, was found ion a flooded apartment, a police statement said.
A man's body had been found floating in a main street earlier on Wednesday.
The population of 28,000 people was inundated when Wilsons River peaked Monday afternoon at its highest level since records began in 1880.
Authorities expect the death toll to rise in Lismore and its surrounding areas.
Dozens of suburbs remain flooded in Brisbane, Australia’s third-most populous city 750 kilometers (470 miles) north of Sydney, after the river that snakes through its center peaked on Monday.
The Queensland state capital had received 80% of its average annual rainfall within a few days.
The cleanup effort is underway and 8,000 volunteers had enlisted for what is known as the Mud Army, which helps those who were inundated.
Queensland has accounted for nine of the deaths from the flooding disaster that has resulted from a low-pressure system that is moving south.