Australia in the grip of flash floods and bushfires

Severe weather hits Queensland with torrential rains as a heatwave builds across South Australia, elevating fire risks.

    Severe weather hits Queensland with torrential rains as a heatwave builds across South Australia, elevating fire risks [AFP]
    Severe weather hits Queensland with torrential rains as a heatwave builds across South Australia, elevating fire risks [AFP]

    Australia is again in the grip of two weather extremes, facing floods in the north and fires in the south.

    A tropical low developing over Queensland's Gulf Country has brought damaging winds and torrential downpours to the region.

    The small cattle town of Normanton, on the south coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria, was hit by flash flooding, while a very wet weekend was followed by a further 198mm of rain in the 24 hours up to 06:00 GMT on Tuesday morning.

    The gulf area remains the key area of concern and floods warnings remain in place.

    More roads and buildings are likely to be cut off over the next few days as the weakening tropical low slowly drifts across the border into Northern Territory. Some places could yet receive another 200mm of rain or more by the weekend.

    Flash-flooding concerns remain around eastern Queensland where slow-moving storms have led to some phenomenal downpours. Townsville had 99mm of rain on Tuesday and 88km (55 miles) to the southeast, Ayr recorded 421mm rainfall. This total was swamped by the 529mm that fell 15km (9 miles) away on Rita Island.

    Showers are not expected to be quite as intense over the next few days.

    Elsewhere, southern parts of the country remain focused on the heat and lack of rain. There is currently a mass of hot air sitting over Western Australia, with the temperature soaring to 39.9 degrees Celsius (103.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in Perth on Tuesday afternoon.

    This heat is expected to sweep eastwards this week forcing up the temperatures and the fire danger across southern states and territories. Adelaide is forecast to reach 42C (107.6F) on Thursday with a high of 41C (105.8F) possible in Melbourne the next day.

    Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said severe heatwave conditions were forecast to affect parts of Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and Tasmania between Tuesday and Sunday, with some places likely to endure extreme heatwave conditions. 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies