Heavy rains lash some bushfires-hit Aus regions

Sydney, Jan 18 (IANS) Heavy rains and thunderstorms on Saturday lashed parts of Australia’s east coast, dousing some of the raging bushfires but bringing a new threat of flooding to some areas.

There have been downpours in the states of Victoria, New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, which have all been badly hit by the bushfire crisis since last September, reports the BBC.

NSW reported severe rainfall and storms in several areas, and warned of potential flooding.

Firefighters in the state said that they were making the most of the “benign conditions” of rain and cooler temperatures to try to tackle the remaining bushfires.

Some 75 fires were still raging in the state on Saturday, down from well over 100 a few days ago.

“Rain continues to fall across a number of firegrounds, however the Far South Coast and along the border are still yet to receive any moisture,” the state’s Rural Fire Service (RFS) said on Twitter.

Queensland has had some of the heaviest rainfall Australia has seen in months. Some major roads were closed and residential areas flooded, but no deaths or injuries were reported.

“Heavy, intense rainfall has eased, but showers and thunderstorms still possible through the weekend. Take care on the roads – if it’s flooded, forget it,” the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland tweeted.

Forecasters in Victoria said thunderstorms were possible across much of the central and eastern state on Saturday.

“Thunderstorms could become severe due to heavy falls across the northeast of the State. Damaging winds and large hail are a slight risk,” the state’s Bureau of Meteorology said.

But major bushfires continued to rage on Saturday in regions in the south and south-east of the country – including on Kangaroo Island – which have so far missed out on the rain, reports the BBC.

At least 28 people and millions of animals have been killed so far, while the fires have destroyed thousands of homes and scorched millions of acres of land.

–IANS
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