Published: Tue, February 11, 2020
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Rain deluge in eastern Australia set to extinguish NSW bushfires this week

Rain deluge in eastern Australia set to extinguish NSW bushfires this week

The weather bureau said large sea waves with the largest recorded height of nearly 14 metres were occurring off Sydney.

But most of New South Wales' drought-hit towns facing down a water "Day Zero" had seen "negligible" increases, as much of the rain was flowing into rivers not dams, said a spokesman for WaterNSW, which manages the state's water resources.

Sydney alone was anticipated to obtain as a lot as 130 millimetres of rain within the 24 hours to Saturday morning, the largest one-day rainfall since February 5, 2002, information on the bureau's web site confirmed on Friday.

"The rain is good for business and farms as well as being really good for quenching some of these fires we've been dealing with for many, many months", New South Wales Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said Friday.

Professor Ashish Sharma from the University of New South Wales said heavy rain can give people in cities a "twisted view" of the impact, as water builds up on hard surfaces.

The five fires that are still burning out of control are all in the Bega Valley and Snowy Valley area in the state's south.

"Some of the blazes have been burning for weeks and even months", the NSW Rural Fire Service said on Twitter.

Wet walk A man struggles to cross road
Wet walk A man struggles to cross road

Australia has been battling hundreds of blazes since September last year in an unusually prolonged summer wildfire season fuelled by three years of drought, which experts have attributed to climate change.

He said monitoring on major rivers over the coming days should provide a clearer picture of how much the rain has helped.

A Friday update from the RFS said there were more than 40 fires, down from 62 on Feb 5.

The state emergency minister David Elliott has urged Sydneysiders to help rescue services by taking warnings seriously, staying away from flooding and keeping off the roads if possible. Up to 130 millimetres of rain is forecast to fall in Sydney today, with up to 90 millimetres on Saturday and 80 millimetres on Sunday.

Thousands of people in low-lying areas of the city have been told to leave or get ready to leave their homes.

WeatherWatch.co.nz head forecaster Philip Duncan says it's a straight forward set up for eastern Australia this weekend, but for New Zealand the forecast is made more complicated due to extra high pressure in the area. However, in this emergency level 480 million animals have been destroyed and the fire burned 4 million hectares.

"This rainfall is just great to see and it is certainly going to bring an easing to some of these fire conditions".

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