Bushfires, cyclone, torrential rain hit Australia’s coasts

Source:AFP Published: 2020/2/9 18:48:40

Photo taken on Feb. 3, 2020 shows smoke from the bushfire burning in the south of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) moves to blanket the Australian capital Canberra. (Photo by Chu Chen/Xinhua)

Severe bushfires burned through several parts of Western Australia on Sunday, with other areas of the state dealing with the aftermath of a powerful cyclone, while the country's east coast area was facing potential life-threatening flash flooding.

After months of destructive wildfires that have razed millions of hectares of land, Australia has been hit in recent weeks by wild weather that has alternately brought heavy downpours, hail storms, gusty winds and hot and dry air.

About a dozen fires were burning in Western Australia (WA) on Sunday, with severe fire danger expected in several districts, according to fire services and the state's Bureau of Meteorology.

Daytime temperatures in some of the districts were forecast at up to 42 C.

The state's upper parts were battling on Sunday the aftermath of a tropical cyclone Damien that made a landfall on Saturday afternoon, bringing gusty winds of up to 200 kilometers per hour.

No immediate damages were reported and the cyclone was expected to weaken as it moved inland, but winds were seen to blow at more than 100 kilometers per hour.

"Although Tropical Cyclone Damien has weakened significantly from the thrashing it gave Karratha and Dampier yesterday, areas around Tom Price and Paraburdoo are receiving significant rainfall and squally conditions," the state's Bureau of Meteorology said on its Twitter account.

On the opposite coast of Australia, Sydney and the state of New South Wales were in danger of potential life-threatening flash flooding as rain kept bucketing down for a third day in a row in downpours not seen since 1998.

Rainfall in some parts of the state approached half the annual average. 

However, the falls were welcomed after the state saw its driest year on record in the year of 2019, at 55 percent below average.

The state's Bureau of Meteorology said that there was potential for heavy "rainfall and life-threatening flash-flooding," and coast erosion, although little danger of river flooding as water levels have been low due to a persistent drought.



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