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Storm, flooding misery follow fires in Australia

January 18, 2020

Thunderstorms and torrential rain have wreaked havoc in the fire-devastated states of New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. Despite the wet weather, hundreds of blazes continue to burn and many areas remain dry.

Koala licks rainwater off a road
A koala licks rainwater off a road near Moree, New South WalesImage: Reuters/Social Media

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 that 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 to "take care on the roads — if it's flooded, forget it."

A flood-damaged property in New South Wales.
Several properties in southern New South Wales were left damaged by floods.Image: Getty Images/S. Khan

New South Wales and Victoria

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 fight "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 on the far south coast.

man carries koalas
Torrential rain hit fire-stricken states in AustraliaImage: Reuters/Australian Reptile Park

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.

kmm/sms (Reuters, AP)

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