Australia’s east coast has been hit by record rainfall over the past week, accompanied by storms that have caused severe flooding and widespread damage to thousands of homes.
Brisbane was among the first areas affected over the weekend, with schools closed on Monday as the Brisbane River hit its highest level since 2011. Rainfall has dropped since last Thursday – more than 1.5 meters – roughly the average annual rainfall for the region.
The weather system then moved south through northern New South Wales (NSW), with the state chief describing the weather as a “once in a thousand years” event. Forecasts that the weather system is now moving further south have issued “an ominous warning for the Mid North Coast, Sydney and South Coast”, it said. The Sydney Morning Herald.
“The rain was intense and continued, unabated,” said Guardians, describing it as a “rain bomb” weather event. In the town of Woodburn, NSW, about 50 residents and their pets were stranded overnight on a bridge as they tried to escape rising floodwaters, BBC reported.
Lismore, NSW, “is a community used to flooding,” said The Guardian. “But this is not a flood, this is a disaster,” resident Sue Higginson wrote in newspaper. “If you’ve got a flood plan – which everyone on flood-prone land does, especially since 2017 – it’s pointless.”
Lismore residents are experiencing some of the worst weather on record, and Higginson warned: “This is an emergency – a climate emergency.”
Nine people in Queensland have died and the national death toll is now 10. Many of the deaths “were people who tried to cross flooded roads, either on foot or in a car”, it said. Reuters. There have been some “calls to shut down”, as residents are trapped on their roofs or shelter from the rain in their homes, said Time.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the extreme conditions as a “weather bomb”, and reassured the public that defense personnel were being deployed to lead rescue and recovery efforts.
A weather bomb, Met Office interpreted, is an informal term used to refer to what happens when the central pressure inside a low-pressure area decreases “at a very rapid rate”.
Last week, meteorologists warned that low pressure on Queensland’s south coast was “pulling moisture from the Coral Sea” and “raised it above the coastline”. Colder air higher in the atmosphere has “made the atmosphere unstable”, causing this moisture to drop in the form of rain, Guardians.
Genelle Weule writes at ABC News last month. Weather radar was “full of orange, red and purple blobs” as “extreme storm events have popped up across Australia.
Along with flash floods and high winds, angry dark clouds can also create spectacular and potentially dangerous light shows, she added. This has included “super flash”, where a single flash of lightning spans hundreds of kilometers of the sky and lasts for several seconds.
Criticize the government
The enormous geographic spread of the most recent floods is “a stretch of emergency resources”, Daily mail. And they are “criticizing the Australian government’s stance on climate change”, Financial Times.
When asked about the flooding on Monday, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg ignored any mention that global warming contributes to more extreme weather patterns, commenting instead that “forever is so”.
Further flood warnings come as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report on the global impacts of warming temperatures yesterday. Among its findings, the report highlights that coastal flood damage is projected to increase at least tenfold worldwide by 2100.
https://www.theweek.co.uk/news/environment/955930/rain-bombs-megaflash-lightning-australia-weather Bomb rain and super heavy lightning: Australia experiences unprecedented weather