Sydney rains: Record rainfall brings flooding and douses fires

  • February 10, 2020

Fallen branches and trees sway as tropical cyclone Damien hits Dampier, Western Australia, February 8, 2020, in this still image from video obtained via social media. Video taken February 8, 2020. Nigel Gibson via REUTERS

The Australian city of Sydney has been hit by its heaviest rain in 30 years, bringing flooding and travel chaos and forcing thousands from their homes.

The state weather agency said 391.6mm of rain had fallen in the past four days, and warned of potentially life-threatening flash floods.

About 100,000 homes have also been left without power.

A pedestrian braves strong wind and rain in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, February 9, 2020. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


But the rains have put out two of the biggest bushfires which have torn through New South Wales in past months.

The Currowan fire had burned for 74 days around the town of Shoalhaven, destroying nearly 500,000 hectares and 312 homes.

The Gospers Mountain blaze, north-west of Sydney, had been considered “too big to put out” and had been burning since October.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has warned that fire-hit areas can be particularly prone to flooding, and that fast-moving waters can carry large amounts of debris.

There are still 31 fires burning in New South Wales, but none are considered an immediate danger at present.

The massive rainfall has also replenished water supplies in the region, which has been battling years of drought.

The Warragamba Dam, which supplies most of Sydney’s water, is heading towards being 70% full, says WaterNSW.

At the end of last week it was at only 42% after one of the driest years on record. (BBC)