Terrifying footage has captured the moment hundreds of spiders escaped to higher ground as New South Wales is submerged in floodwater. Resident Melanie Williams filmed the arachnids swarming over her fence at her Macksville home, on the NSW mid-north coast, on Saturday. Australia was set on Monday to evacuate thousands more people from suburbs in Sydney’s west with torrential rains expected to continue for another day or two.
Ms Williams told ABC News: “That was enough to really freak me out, I had never seen anything like it before.
“I am an arachnophobe from way back so I hope they’ve gone back to wherever they came from. I occasionally see spiders around the place but never anything like that, it was just insane.
“As the water was rising, the letterbox was going under further and further and I could see all these little black things on there and I thought ‘oh my God, they’re spiders’.
“Then I looked at my neighbour’s fence and almost had a heart attack. There were literally thousands of them.”
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Sydney University’s Professor Dieter Hochuli explained the spiders are moving to higher ground to escape floodwaters.
He said: “What happens with the floods is all these animals that spend their lives cryptically on the ground can’t live there anymore.
“Just like people, they’re trying to get to higher ground during a flood.”
Sunday was Sydney’s wettest day of the year, with almost 111 mm (4.4 inches) of rain, while nearly 900 mm (35 inches) was dumped in some north coast regions in the last six days, or more than three times the March average, government data showed.
Authorities said about 18,000 people have been evacuated from low-lying areas.
Large parts of the east coast will get more heavy rain from Monday, brought by a combination of a tropical low over the northern part of Western Australia and a coastal trough off New South Wales, said Jane Golding, a weather official.
“We expect this heavy rain to fall on areas that haven’t seen as much rain over the last few days,” Golding told reporters. “We expect the flood risk to develop in those areas as well.”
Some parts of Sydney’s western regions have suffered the worst flooding since 1961, said authorities, who expect the wild weather to last until Wednesday.
A severe flood warning has been issued for large parts of New South Wales, as well as neighbouring Queensland.