Storm, flooding misery follow bushfires in Australia
18 January 2020, 12:45
Torrential rains and thunderstorms caused further misery for Australians in states already suffering from devastating bushfires.
Several major highways were cut off, while theme parks closed in southeastern Queensland after some of the heaviest rain in months fell in the state. Local media showed video footage of dozens of vehicles being swept away in flash flooding.
Standing water reached 330 millimeters (13 inches) in some areas and Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology tweeted over 100 millimeters of rain was expected to fall across the night and early Saturday morning in many other locations.
The Bureau of Meteorology for Queensland also told drivers “take care on the roads — if it’s flooded, forget it.”
New South Wales, where 4.9 million hectares have been destroyed by fire, saw power cuts due to the heavy rainfall.
Firefighters in the southeastern state were hopeful the weather change would bring much-needed respite for areas where dozens of bushfires still raged.
The Rural Fire Service said Saturday it was continuing “to make the most of benign conditions to contain 75 bushfires, of which 25 are still to be contained.”
The fire service also noted that some parts of the state had yet to receive any moisture, particularly in the far south coast.
Less ferocious storms were forecast for Victoria, which has already been hit this week by severe storms and unhealthy smoke from the bushfires.
Across NSW, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania a total of 8.4 million hectares have been destroyed by the fires.