Published: Wed, February 12, 2020
Research | By Sheri Schwartz

Massive rainfall amounts could extinguish many of Australia's wildfires

Massive rainfall amounts could extinguish many of Australia's wildfires

The heavy rainfall has helped firefighters by dousing bush fires that have been raging for months, including the Currowan Fire in the Shoalhaven after which burned 499,621 hectares and destroyed 312 homes.

Bushfire-affected areas in the far east of Victoria are hopeful that the drenching rain will finally put an end to several massive bushfires that have been burning for over a month.

James Jackson, the president of NSW Farmers, told Reuters: "This one event won't replenish the whole soil moisture profile".

With flash flooding impacting communities along the Georges River to the South and the Hawkesbury River to the North, along with other low-lying areas across the city, the New South Wales (NSW) State Emergency Service (SES) has responded to approximately 10,000 calls for help and performed at least 150 flood rescues.

The deluge brought welcome inflows into dams in drought-stricken New South Wales state, with reservoirs now at about 64% capacity, up from 42% a week ago.

Conditions remain serious, with more rain forecast and the risk of rivers peaking still high.

Australia's weather agency said 391.6mm of rain had fallen in the past four days in Sydney, more than three times the average rainfall for February.

After a day of wintry precipitation Thursday, Greater Boston will get hit with rain and some high winds Friday and Western Massachusetts could get a few more flakes before all is said and done.

Hazardous surf warnings are also in place for the Macquarie coast, Hunter coast, Sydney coast, Illawarra coast, Batemans coast and Eden coast.

The advisory warned that power outages could result and advised people to "avoid being outside in forested areas and around trees and branches".

More than 60 schools were closed on Monday and one power company in Sydney's greater west and on the south coast said it was working to restore power to nearly 20,000 properties.

It comes as heavy rain has been falling steadily across much of the state since Wednesday, with some of the strongest falls seen in northern NSW, near Byron Bay and Kingscliff, which had close to 300mm fall yesterday. "It is quite widespread", NSW State Emergency Service (SES) spokesman Andrew Richards said.

And in the Blue Mountains, the road to the Jenolan Caves has been closed due to landslide concerns.

The heavy rains are also raising fears of runoff spilling into local reservoirs, contaminating the drinking water supply to major cities, including Sydney.

As you can imagine, the flooding has led to a number of road closures across the state. More rain is forecast over the coming days.

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