Bushfires, cyclone, torrential rain hit Australia's coasts

After months of fires, Australia's east and west coasts grappling with torrential rain, strong winds, hail and heat.

    After weeks of devastating fires, Australia is now facing torrential rain and strong winds [Nigel Gibson via Reuters]
    After weeks of devastating fires, Australia is now facing torrential rain and strong winds [Nigel Gibson via Reuters]

    Severe bushfires have burned through parts of Western Australia (WA), while other parts of the state deal with the aftermath of a powerful cyclone and the country's east coast faces potential life-threatening flash flooding.

    After months of fires that destroyed millions of hectares of land, Australia has been hit in recent weeks by wild weather that has alternately brought heavy downpours, hail storms, gusty winds and hot and dry air.

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    About a dozen fires were burning in WA on Sunday, with severe fire danger expected in several districts, according to fire services and the state's Bureau of Meteorology.

    Daytime temperatures in some of the districts were forecast at up to 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit).

    The state's upper parts have been battling on Sunday the aftermath of  tropical cyclone Damien, which made landfall on Saturday afternoon, bringing gusty winds of up to 200 km/h (124 mph).

    No immediate damage was reported and the cyclone was expected to weaken as it moved inland, but winds were expected to remain strong.

    Three-day deluge

    "Although Tropical #CycloneDamien has weakened significantly from the thrashing it gave Karratha and Dampier yesterday, areas around Tom Price and Paraburdoo are receiving significant rainfall and squally conditions," the state's Bureau of Meteorology said on its Twitter account.

    On the opposite coast of Australia, Sydney and the state of New South Wales were in danger of potential life-threatening flash flooding after three days of torrential rain  in a row.

    Rainfall in some parts of the state approached half the annual average, but the falls were welcomed after the state saw its driest year on record in 2019, at 55 percent below average.

    The state's Bureau of Meteorology said there was potential for heavy "rainfall and life-threatening flash-flooding," and coast erosion, although little danger of river flooding as water levels were seriously low as a result of the persistent drought.

    In Queensland, meteorologists also warned of flash and riverine flooding on Sunday, following heavy falls overnight. An emergency flood alert was issued for residents of Dalby due to a creek overflowing, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Brisbane

    SOURCE: Reuters news agency