Days of heavy rain after a damp summer have seen Sydney's Warragamba Dam, the main source of the city's drinking water, reach capacity for the first time in 14 years -- cheap gucci bags prompting the water to move over its spillways late Friday.
The swollen Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers were now threatening areas around Sydney's northwest.
"This is a moderate flood but it's unusual because we haven't seen water in this river system in a while," Kear said of the waters, which are likely to swamp bridges and close roads.
Further west in New South Wales, the town of Bathurst had been cut in two by floodwaters while across the state some 2,300 people had been left isolated by the surging torrents.
A severe weather warning for flash flooding was in place in large areas of New South Wales and the southern state of Victoria was also bracing for heavy rainfall.
Kear said no homes had been inundated in the past 24 hours, but he said there had been more than 40 flood rescues -- including saving people trapped in cars -- and warned people against attempting to drive through floodwaters.
Another possible storm-related death occurred in Henryville, Indiana, where television images showed homes blown apart.
CNN aired video taken from the air showing rescue workers in Indiana picking through one splintered house, residents sifting through the ruins of a home, and a school bus thrown into a building. Several warehouse-like structures had their roofs ripped off.
Major Chuck Adams of the Clark County Sheriff's office said there was extensive damage to a school in Henryville but said: "All the children are out. No injuries to any of them, just minor scrapes and abrasions."
Indiana officials confirmed 13 deaths from the tornadoes on Friday, including four in Jefferson County, four in Washington County, three in Scott County and two in Ripley County.
Four of the Kentucky deaths were in Menifee County cheap gucci outlet 2012 in the eastern half of the state and a fifth in Kenton County, near Louisville.
Storm warnings were issued throughout the day from the Midwest to the Southeast. Schools, government offices and businesses closed ahead of the storms, which came after a series of tornadoes earlier in the week killed 13 people in Kansas, Missouri, Illinois and Tennessee.
This week's violent storms raised fears that 2012 will be another bad year for tornadoes after 550 deaths in the United States were blamed on twisters last year, the deadliest year in nearly a century, according to the Weather Service.
The highest death tolls were from an April outbreak in Alabama and Mississippi that claimed 364 lives, and from a May tornado in Joplin, Missouri, that killed 161 people. There were two tornado-related deaths earlier this year in Alabama.
ALABAMA TOWN STRUCK FOR SECOND YEAR
An area near Huntsville, Alabama, which was struck by a tornado during an April 2011 outbreak that killed 364 of people, was hit again on Friday by a tornado that took a similar path. An emergency management official said seven people had been transported to hospitals.
"There were two storms that moved across the area, very close together, almost attached to each other," National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Darden said. The Weather service said the damage was from an EF-2 tornado with winds of 120 miles per hour that took a similar path to a devastating tornado on April 27, 2011.
Authorities said 40 homes were destroyed and 150 damaged in two northern Alabama counties on Friday.
A prison, Limestone Correctional Facility, was in the path of the storm, Alabama officials said. High winds caused roof damage to two dormitories, forcing 300 inmates to be moved to elsewhere in the facility.
No one was seriously injured at the prison and there were no risks of prisoners escaping, though there was damage to some perimeter fencing and a canteen, cheapguccioutlet2012 said Brian Corbett, a spokesman for the Alabama Department of Corrections.