Jan 15, 2020

Rain in Australia Brings New Risks

A major weather pattern shift is coming to some of the bush-fire zones of Australia. 

storm water

Rains in Australia are expected to bring relief for the thousands of firefighters seeking to contain the blazes, which still number more than 100 in New South Wales alone, reported the Washington Post.

The newly burned regions will be prone to flooding and landslides, which could further damage forest ecosystems. This could be worsened by the slow-moving nature of heavier showers and thunderstorms, according to Sarah Scully, a meteorologist at Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

The BOM is predicting between 1.2 and 3 inches of rain during the next several days across a large area, stretching from Victoria northward into New South Wales and Queensland, reported the Washington Post

Computer models show the heaviest rain may fall in thunderstorms close to the coast, which could keep the highest totals away from areas where large fires are still burning, according to the Washington Post. However, some relief appears likely across a large area. 

The rains will be heaviest on Wednesday in Victoria and New South Wales and will then spread further northward through late week, according to Scully’s online video

“Hopefully some of this heavy rainfall will fall over the fire sites and help control or even extinguish some of those fires. But it’s a bit of a double-edged sword, as heavy rainfall and gusty winds bring the potential for flash flooding, particularly in the burnt-out areas of New South Wales and Victoria,” said Scully.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, officials are working to protect Sydney’s water supply against any mud or ash flows that could overwhelm reservoirs and other water systems.

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