Flash Floods Follow Bushfires As Torrential Rain Hits Parts Of Australia

Keepers at the Australian Reptile Park were forced to beat crocodiles back with brooms as the deluge flooded their enclosure.

Flash flooding has hit some parts of Australia’s bushfire-damaged east coast as severe storms settled in on Saturday.

The deluge doused some of the fires that have devastated the region for months, but in turn caused road closures and severe flooding.

Despite the rain, authorities said they were still battling almost 100 blazes, which since September have killed at least 29 people, destroyed more than 2,500 homes, and scorched an estimated 10m hectares of land.

As the waters rose in previously drought-stricken areas, staff at the Australian Reptile Park in New South Wales (NSW) were forced to rescue koalas from fast-flowing waters and beat back crocodiles with brooms.

Victoria, NSW and Queensland, three of the states most hit by drought and bushfires, are all now dealing with the extreme rainfall.

Major highways were closed in Queensland on Saturday, with the state getting some of the heaviest rain Australia has seen for months, while power was cut in parts of New South Wales after a stormy night.

“Heavy, intense rainfall has eased, but showers and thunderstorms still possible through the weekend,” the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland said on Twitter on Saturday.

“Take care on the roads - if it’s flooded, forget it.”

Parts of Queensland’s south saw triple the monthly rainfall overnight. No major damage has been reported, although some residential areas were flooded and many of the state’s parks and tourist attractions were closed.

NSW fire services welcomed the rain on Thursday, which they said on Twitter would help to control the 75 fires burning in the state, of which 25 are yet to be contained. But, they also said that some firegrounds have not seen any rain yet.

More benign storms were forecast for Victoria over the weekend, which has been hit this week already by severe storms and unhealthy smoke from the bushfires.

Skies were clear in Melbourne, however, for the final round of qualifying for the Australian Open, the year’s first Grand Slam, and Victoria’s Environmental Protection rated the air quality as “good”, after an earlier forecast of unhealthy air for the weekend.

There were still more than a dozen fires burning in Victoria on Saturday, with firefighters battling to contain a big blaze in the state’s mountain region, fifteen times the size of Manhattan.

Victoria’s emergency service also issued an evacuation warning due to a bushfire on Saturday for French Island, the state’s largest coastal island with a small population of just above 100 people.


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