By R. Mautner
Following last year’s precedent, Australia is currently facing yet another natural catastrophe. Heavy rainfall had been flooding the country’s southeast regions, including Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle and Port Macquarie, since Sunday (20). The rainfall ceased on Tuesday; however, the country is now dealing with historic flooding and its impacts on important Australian cities. Australia has declared to be in a state of national emergency and 10 million people are under warning across the country, except for its Western regions.
Parts of the New South Wales state have reported nearly 1 metre of rainfall, flooding several houses and roads. Port Macquarie’s highest pluviometry index recorded 497 mm of rainfall (almost half a metre). It has been estimated by meteorologists that in the span of less than a week the amount of rainfall in these regions was five times the expected for the entire month of March.
On Tuesday the country’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, advised that “the rain and flood situation does remain dynamic and extremely complex”. He also publicly stated that, despite rainfall being expected to cease on Wednesday, flooding implications will remain for days after.
So far, two unfortunate deaths have been reported as their bodies were found in flooded areas. Besides this, around 18 thousand people have already been evacuated from their homes that were compromised or destroyed by the heavy rainfall, and this number is still increasing. In fact, a 37-year-old woman in labour had to be airlifted after being stranded by the flooding in Sydney.
Meteorologists have informed that the rain’s prolongation was a result of storms not leaving the Australian south east due to the low pressure generated by a subtropical jet stream, an air current that flows along the atmosphere. This coincided with tropical winds that concentrated moisture into that same region. Altogether, rain lasted for six consecutive days in New South Wales. However, Australians are still carrying on with the flood clean-up as it will most likely take several days to subside.