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Heavy flash floods batter Australia

Ankita Mukhopadhyay
February 13, 2020

When it rains, it pours in Australia. The country is facing a series of flash floods following damaging bushfires and a prolonged drought.

Australien Wirbelsturm Debbie Auswirkungen
Image: Getty Images/AFP/P. Hamilton

After deadly bushfires and a prolonged drought over the last few months, torrential rain has hit Australia, leading to dangerous flashfloods.

On February 13, several dams near Sydney overflowed, while more dams were expected to reach their full capacity in the next few days. The city of Sydney, which is reportedly experiencing a power cut, received its heaviest rainfall in 30 years last week. 

Hundreds of people have been rescued from the floods till now, while one person is reported dead. The extreme weather conditions in Australia are expected to get worse from tomorrow, when cyclone Uesi is expected to hit Lord Howe island, about 600 kilometers (370 miles) east of the Australian mainland. 

The Bureau of Meteorology of New South Wales has forecast "destructive winds" and heavy rainfall owing to Uesi, a category two cyclone. A category two cyclone can produce strong winds of up to 125-164 kilometer per hour. 

This is the second cyclone to affect Australia this month. Sparsely populated western Australia was lashed by destructive winds and heavy rainfall last week when it was hit by cyclone Damien.

Extreme weather conditions in Australia

From late 2019 to early 2020 in Australia, at least 33 people and 500 million animals were killed in fires that destroyed more than 10 million hectares of land. The fires were compounded by a prolonged drought.

BdTD Bild des Tages Deutsch | Waldbrände in Australien | Pferde
Image: Getty Images/B. Mitchell

The torrential rains are expected to extinguish most of the bushfires, bringing some relief to Australians. However, the rain is yet to show impact on certain drought-stricken regions, as much of the rain is reportedly flowing into rivers, not dams.

The northern territory of Australia is currently facing a heatwave, which is expected to continue until the weekend. The extreme weather conditions are expected to affect the fauna composition in Australia. Ross Thompson, a professor at the University of Canberra's Institute for Applied Ecology, told The Guardian that the combination of (weather) events have not been experienced by Australia's fauna before, increasing the risk of extinction or serious effects on species.