The city has not experienced such high levels of rainfall since 1990, bringing a much-needed respite from the long-burning bushfires.
For the past few months, Australia has been burning, putting a strain on national resources like emergency response services. While the international community has pitched in to help, providing funds for emergency relief and raising awareness, it is Mother Nature who ultimately saved the day. Heavy rainfall was seen in Australia's New South Wales, CNN reports. According to the nation's Bureau of Meteorology, the region has experienced more than 200 millimeters (about 7.9 inches) of rainfall in the past 24 hours. This is a staggering amount of rain, unseen for the past three decades. The rain has since put out some of the longest-burning bushfires in the country.
Australia just had the heaviest rain it's seen in 30 years following months of deadly brushfires pic.twitter.com/GCgo7OGqET— NowThis (@nowthisnews) February 11, 2020
The rainfall was so heavy, in fact, that it forced the evacuation of numerous towns as well as 50 schools across the region. The Department of Education in New South Wales announced the closures on Monday, citing heavy flooding. In Sydney in particular, the Bureau of Meteorology calculated that 391.6 millimeters (15.4 inches) of rain fell over the past four days. The city has not seen this amount of rain since 1990. Therefore, the Bureau issued several warnings for heavy rains, wind, and further flooding. While the rains have been a logistical nightmare for the average citizen, they come as a welcome respite for the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
Unexpected heavy rain in Australia is giving huge relief to bushfires, and could end many this week — 2 of the biggest fires are already out.— AJ+ (@ajplus) February 11, 2020
But it's also caused major flooding, putting neighborhoods underwater and leaving thousands without power. pic.twitter.com/Web8uZgLvv
The official New South Wales Rural Fire Service posted to Twitter on Monday, "This is the most positive news we've had in some time. The recent rainfall has assisted firefighters to put over 30 fires out since Friday. Some of these blazes have been burning for weeks and even months." As per New South Wales Rural Fire Service media officer James Morris, the rain helped put out the Currowan fire over the weekend. This fire, in particular, had burned 499,621 hectares of land over 74 days. The other fires quelled by the torrential rains include Gospers Mountain, Myall Creek Road, Erskine Creek, Kerry Ridge, Green Wattle Creek, Morton, and Currowan. Over the next few days, Morris explained, at least five more of the remaining uncontrolled fires are expected to be put out.
He said in an interview, "Given the forecast, we should be able to get on top of those relatively quickly and set the fires down. We are hoping by the end of the week we may be able to have zero uncontained fires across NSW." Now, emergency response services have had to pivot resources to field disruptions caused by the heavy rainfall. Emergency response services claimed they had received an estimated 10,000 calls across the state on Monday alone. The callers reported fell trees, flooded homes, and issues related to public transport. Needless to say, Australia's weather is an example of the worst that climate change is capable of. It can only be hoped that these unstable weather conditions motivate the Australian government to do better and act now.
Climate strike Sydney, Australia— Fridays For Future Sydney (@fff_Sydney) February 7, 2020
Heavy rain has now caused widespread flood risks in addition to the bushfires that continue to rage across the country. This is what a Climate Emergency looks like.#FridaysForFuture @GretaThunberg #ClimateStrike #ClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/i7ZxBgMr06