By Edward Wang
For four days, heavy rain in Australia has brought relief after months of destructive fires and years of droughts, but it has also brought new concerns of additional bizarre weather and flooding damage.
Australia has fought through drought for years. According to the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, the 36-month period lasting from February 2017 to January 2020 has been the driest 36-month period recorded in the Murray-Darling Basin and New South Wales. More recently, bushfires have been spreading, partially due to these droughts. However, the recent downpour has aided drought-stricken areas and has halted some bushfires.
The four-day heavy rain is the longest-lasting rainfall in Sydney and other areas for 30 years. Bushfires were doused, and dried-up dams in New South Wales were filled. Some other areas even received more rain in the recent downpour than what they had received in the entirety of the year.
The Sydney area received about 400 millimeters, or 15.75 inches, of rain. This was sufficient enough to increase the water level in the Warragamba Dam from 40% to above 60% over the course of the downpour.
Unfortunately, the downpour came at an expense. Although bushfires were drenched and the land was replenished, heavy floods occurred in several other areas, causing the loss of power to tens of thousands of homes, as well as disordering travel and closing schools in Sydney.
Flooding has been so severe in some areas that the New South Wales Rural Fire Service’s Sydney headquarters has been redirected to aid those harmed by flood and storm damage as a response to the shift in weather. According to Sydney Emergency Services (SES) spokesman Andrew Richards, overnight, the SES has received more than 2,700 calls for help, and since last Wednesday, the SES has received about 10,000 calls. Flood evacuation warnings have been ordered for parts of the Conjola region.
Image courtesy of The Hill