Rain downpours have brought relief to fire-ravaged Australia with the number of deadly bushfires declining – but forecasts have predicted that there will be flash floods and lightning soon to come.
The first significant rain has fallen down upon Australia in months, with downpours already helping to extinguish 32 bushfires across New South Wales, with the number of blazes falling from 120 to 88 on Thursday morning.
The Bureau of Meteorology expects between 30 to 80mm of rain to hit east of NSW, between Thursday and Sunday.
For over three months, exhausted firefighters have been battling deadly fires across Australia.
In total, 28 people have died in the horrific blazes and over 2,000 homes have been destroyed.
It has been forecast in the ACT and the west of NSW that 20mm and 40mm of rain will hit, which is where many farmers have suffered droughts for three years.
This rain will be giving firefighters a much-needed rest after months of battling ferocious blazes.
NSW Rural Fire Service Inspector Ben Shephard said: “It’s the most positive forecast the RFS had had in months and will give crews a chance to regroup and work on the containment lines.”
The rain has also struck Victoria, with Melbourne being drenched last night as the suburb of St Albans saw a month’s worth of rain – 77m – within the space of an hour.
However, there have been winds which have battered the city, causing damages to houses before the storms stopped.
There are concerns that thunderstorms could bring more bushfire trouble.
— Dale Drinkwater (@DaleDrinkwater) January 16, 2020
— Maarten IJzerman (@maartenijzerman) January 15, 2020
We wanted to re introduce you to a couple of items that you may not have used in some time. With more than 100 fires still burning across #NSW we are hoping we need to use both of these over the coming days. #NSWRFS #nswfires pic.twitter.com/VI3sMEkNdh
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 14, 2020
— Daniel Strickland (@DanStrickAus) January 15, 2020
These thunderstorms are likely to produce extremely damaging winds that will carry large hail and heavy rainfall, which may lead to flash flooding.
On the late evening of Wednesday for the northeast, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued.
“Thunderstorms, a bit of a two-edged sword. While they can bring some useful rain, it can also come down in pretty fast, high quantities,” said Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Kevin Parkyn.
He added: “There is a high concentration of ash, very vulnerable landscapes when it comes to short bursts of heavy rainfall – which could see very quickly mudslides developing.”
Mr Parkyn expressed concern about debris such as soil, trees and rock, which could make their way to the waterways from the fire landscape.
The NSW SES warns that this could bring the risk of flash flooding, falling trees and landslips after fires have wiped out trees and growth.
“While the rain is welcomed, heavy rain and storms in fire-affected areas can lead to dangerous conditions such as a higher risk of flashing flooding, falling trees and landslips.
“In areas impacted by fires where vegetation has been destroyed, water from heavy rainfall can flow into riverbeds and we could see run-off in areas we wouldn’t normally, resulting in flash flooding.”
The NSW SES elaborated: “The NSW SES is also asking residents in fire-affected areas to watch for potential landslips as the grounds and road can be damaged, therefore creating a higher risk of a potential slip.”
It has been warned to residents that their properties should be prepared by trimming overhanging branches, cleaning gutters and pipes, securing loose items in their backyards and not parking under trees or firelines.
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