Eastern Australia hit by drought and floods

Nearly 90 percent of Queensland is in drought; meanwhile severe storms linger across parts of New South Wales.

by

    Australia can be a country of great extremes, and this is certainly proving to be the case in terms of the weather at the moment.

    Parts of Queensland are in drought. Meanwhile, New South Wales is being pummelled by violent storms.

    Elsewhere, there's a heatwave in Victoria. Temperatures in the state capital, Melbourne, are currently running around 6 degrees above average, with highs nudging above 30 Celsius.

    Parts of Queensland have just experienced their driest ever 12 months on record. That has left 87 percent of the Sunshine State officially drought-stricken.

    There are concerns that conditions could get even worse in the short term. Queensland's Agricultural Minister, Bill Byrne, said this means that producers in the affected regions are now eligible for drought assistance, including relief from water and electricity costs.

    Ironically, the neighbouring state of New South Wales is suffering more than enough rain in parts. Severe storms have hit northern and central areas with golf-ball sized hail.

    The city of Dubbo in the Orana Region was worst affected with 51mm of rain in just six hours. That amount is close to the entire March average of 55mm.

    It did lead to flash floods and dozens of calls for help were made to the State Emergency Service. The floods,  along with damaging winds, led to around 4,000 people losing power along the coast to the north of Sydney.

    Showers remain in the forecast along the east coast for much of this week. They will be heavy at times and could become rather more expansive.

    The coastal fringes of both Queensland and New South Wales, from Cairns to Sydney, are likely to see storms on Wednesday. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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