Australia mega-fire doused as torrential rain brings relief

In the swim After months of heat young men in Sydney appear to enjoy directing traffic through floodwater

Fires give way to floods as wild summer weather continues in Australia by Aidan Radnedge Published

Numerous bushfires have been fueled by the drought conditions that have plagued eastern Australia for the last three years. An estimated billion animals have perished in the fires that destroyed more than 2,500 homes.

"It's incredible what the smell of the rain can do to people's spirits", Ben Shields, the mayor of the inland city of Dubbo, told Reuters on the phone.

James Jackson, a sheep and cattle farmer in the drought-hit Guyra district some 500 kilometres north of Sydney, told Reuters the region was starting to turn green again.

"The last time Sydney saw as much rainfall as we have had now.is in the middle of 2016", Golding said.

Wet walk A man struggles to cross road
Wet walk A man struggles to cross road

Tens of thousands of NSW households are also without electricity due to fallen power lines.

Waves more than 5m high have lashed the coast in areas like Collaroy, just south of Narrabeen, stripping away front gardens facing the sea.

But Sydney's parched dams have had a boost with Warragamba Dam at more than 60 per cent capacity after jumping from 43 per cent a week ago.

With flash flooding impacting communities along the Georges River to the South and the Hawkesbury River to the North, along with other low-lying areas across the city, the New South Wales (NSW) State Emergency Service (SES) has responded to approximately 10,000 calls for help and performed at least 150 flood rescues.

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It's unbelievable what the smell of the rain can do to people's spirits. It was mostly people who got stranded while trying to drive through flood water.

400mm Volume of rain that fell in the Sydney area and surrounding regions.

On Monday, Sydney's water storage levels reached 64%, up 22 points on the previous week.

More than 38,000 homes are without power after several days off the grid following extreme weather. That figure is expected to rise as the full extent of the damage becomes clear.

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Bushfires are an annual problem in the southern summer, but after months of severe drought and high temperatures related to climate change, they have spread much more widely and earlier than usual.

Heavy rain also caused flooding of storm water drains and streets throughout Sydney, sent trees crashing down over vehicles, driveways, and the tennis courts at Sydney Grammar, and caused landslips that undermined train tracks in the Blue Mountains.

"We are trying to ask people to reconsider their travel, a number of roads are closed", Mr Kirby said.

Thunderstorms and rain is predicted for many parts of Queensland and NSW in the next few days. The good news is that a recent deluge in eastern parts of the country has drenched deadly fires and helped ease a crippling drought.

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