Thursday 29 November 2018

Abrupt climate change on steroids in Australia

More than 10,000 flee “catastrophic” bushfires in northern Australia as flash floods from historic rains kill two in Sydney – “This is unprecedented, uncharted”
On 28 November 2018, Fire Danger Ratings reached 'Catastrophic' for the first time in Queensland, Australia, due to the combination of a very dry, hot airmass and strong, gusty westerly winds, according to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology. Graphic: Bureau of Meteorology

,28 November, 2018

By Jonathan Pearlman
28 November 2018

SYDNEY, Australia (The Telegraph) – Authorities ordered more than 10,000 people to flee from “catastrophic” wildfires moving across north-east Australia, as heavy rains in the south-east caused flooding that left at least two people dead.

In the state of Queensland, a heatwave and strong winds fuelled a massive fire that destroyed homes and led to the evacuation of all 8,000 residents from the town of Gracemere, the first time this has happened in its 150-year history.

The fire was threatening the larger town of Rockhampton, which is about five miles away and has about 80,000 residents.

The Bureau of Meteorology declared a catastrophic fire danger in the region, the first time such a level has been applied in Queensland.

"[This is] unprecedented, uncharted, but we have a plan,” said Annastacia Palaszczuk, the state’s premier. […]

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services said aerial tankers had released water on the blaze near Gracemere and helped to “suppress” it.

"However, that cannot operate through the night, and in some of those areas it's actually too dangerous to have crews in those areas," said Katarina Carroll, the head of the agency.

We have never, ever in this state been in this situation before.” […]

Aerial view of bushfires in Queensland, Australia, 28 November 2018. Photo: EPA
Aerial view of bushfires in Queensland, Australia, 28 November 2018. Photo: EPA

As the fires continued, residents in Sydney, about 900 miles south, were cleaning up after a violent storm that caused flash flooding and turned roads into rivers. The city centre received a month’s worth of rain in two hours. […]

During the two hours of heaviest downpour, parts of the city received as much as six inches of rain.

"For that intensity and that duration, that’s the sort of rainfall you’d expect to occur about once every 100 years for that particular site," said Ann Farrell, from the Bureau of Meteorology. [more]

By Eric Leister
28 November 2018

(AccuWeather) – Torrential rainfall brought a month’s worth of rainfall to parts of Sydney in only two hours on Wednesday, resulting in widespread flooding.

Meanwhile, bushfires continue to ravage parts of Queensland, where months of drought has turned the region into a tinderbox.

These sharp contrasts in the weather are just the latest extreme weather events to affect Australia.

Damaging winds, a blinding dust storm and heavy mountain snow have already been recorded earlier this month in eastern Australia.

Torrential downpours in Sydney brought the city to a standstill on Wednesday and resulted in at least two deaths, according to the BBC. […]

Rainfall totaled 50-100 mm (2-4 inches) around the city, with most of the rain falling within a two-hour period.

The Australia Bureau of Meteorology reported that it was the wettest November day in Sydney since 1984. […]

There is a stark contrast in the weather farther north across Queensland. Months of drought have left the region extremely susceptible to wildfires.

Strong winds associated with the storm that impacted Sydney and an ongoing heat wave has helped to fuel more than 130 bushfires across the state.

The fire danger level in the state has risen to “catastrophic” for the first time in history and prompted the evacuation of thousands of people, the BBC reported. [more]

Sydney flooding, Queensland bushfires continue streak of extreme weatheracross Australia

Monster dust storms; torrential rains; worst drought in living memory; deadly wildfires; bats falling dead from trees: Summer in Aus


the Big Wobble,
28 November, 2018

Spare a thought for the Aussies just a week after a monster dust storm measuring 500 kilometres (310 miles) blanketed Australia's southeast after suffering one of the worst droughts in living memory, one month's rain fell yesterday in a couple of hours that drenched Sydney causing severe flooding but missed the drought area, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said it was the region's wettest November day since 1984.

"The intensity of yesterdays rainfall was phenomenal - 91mm fell in 90 minutes," forecaster Rob Taggart told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The storm centred on coastal parts of New South Wales (NSW) but was reported to have missed many inland regions affected by drought.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Guardian claims Mandatory evacuations of thousands of residents of Gracemere in Queensland were underway on Thursday evening as a wildfire approached homes in catastrophic fire conditions.

Despite the extreme danger, some residents were refusing to leave and businesses were still trading in the central Queensland community.

Further south, a massive bushfire that has destroyed homes and sent 1,500 people fleeing continued to rage in Queensland’s Deepwater region, though most people had managed to escape.

For the third straight year, extreme heat in Australia is causing bats to fall out of trees dead in alarming numbers.

According to The Cairns Post, temperatures higher than 40 deg C, 104+ deg F, have killed hundreds of flying foxes, who just fall to the floor dead or dying from the extreme heat.

The extreme weather has been taking a toll on the Far North’s flying foxes, who are dropping by the dozen from trees — and causing a potential public health risk.
Wildlife carers say they are struggling with the overwhelming numbers of bats becoming affected by heat stress in colonies in Cairns, Edmonton, Gordonvale, and Townsville.

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