HKUST2003_10_621x74_676339_k.gif

China Daily

Asia Pacific> Asia News> Content
Saturday, January 18, 2020, 18:27
Floods as storms lash some bushfire-hit regions in Australia
By Reuters
Saturday, January 18, 2020, 18:27 By Reuters

This image from a video shows flooded fields on Gold Coast, Australia, Jan 18, 2020. (AUSTRALIAN BROADCASTING CORPORATION, CHANNEL 7, CHANNEL 9 VIA AP)

MELBOURNE - Parts of Australia’s east coast were hit by severe storms on Saturday, dousing some of the bushfires that have devastated the region for months but causing road closures and flash flooding.

Fears of smoke from the fires disrupting the Australian Open tennis receded in Melbourne, where the main tournament was due to start on Monday.

Fears of smoke from the fires disrupting the Australian Open tennis receded in Melbourne, where the main tournament was due to start on Monday

Despite the heavy rain, authorities were still battling nearly 100 blazes - part of the bushfires that have killed 29 people since September, destroyed more than 2,500 homes and scorched an area nearly one-third the size of Germany.

Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, three of the states most hit by drought and bushfires, are now dealing with rain bucketing down in several areas.

READ MORE: Australian govt calls up reservists as bushfires burn out of control

Major highways were closed in Queensland on Saturday, with the state getting some of the heaviest rain Australia has seen for months, while power was cut in parts of New South Wales after a stormy night.

“Heavy, intense rainfall has eased, but showers and thunderstorms still possible through the weekend,” the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland said on Twitter on Saturday.

"Take care on the roads - if it's flooded, forget it." 

Parts of Queensland’s south saw triple the monthly rainfall overnight. No major damage has been reported, although some residential areas were flooded and many of the state’s parks and tourist attractions were closed.

Despite the heavy rain, authorities were still battling nearly 100 blazes - part of the bushfires that have killed 29 people since September

New South Wales fire services welcomed the rain, which they said on Twitter would help to control the 75 fires burning in the state, of which 25 are yet to be contained. But, they also said that some firegrounds have not seen any rain yet.

More benign storms were forecast for Victoria over the weekend, which has been hit this week already by severe storms and unhealthy smoke from the bushfires.

Skies were clear in Melbourne, however, for the final round of qualifying for the Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam, and Victoria’s Environmental Protection rated the air quality as “good”, after an earlier forecast of unhealthy air for the weekend.

READ MORE: Australian prime minister's approval rating goes up in flames

There were still more than a dozen fires burning in Victoria on Saturday, with firefighters battling to contain a big blaze in the state’s mountain region, fifteen times the size of Manhattan.

Victoria’s emergency service also issued an evacuation warning due to a bushfire on Saturday for French Island, the state’s largest coastal island with a small population of just above 100 people.

Share this story

CHINA DAILY
HONG KONG NEWS
OPEN
Please click in the upper right corner to open it in your browser !