Sydney rains: Record rainfall brings flooding and douses fires

Water levels in the Warragamba Dam, pictured here in December, have almost doubled over the weekend

The Australian city of Sydney has been hit by its heaviest rain in 30 years, bringing flooding and travel chaos and forcing thousands from their homes.

The state weather agency said 391.6mm of rain had fallen in the past four days, and warned of potentially life-threatening flash floods.

About 100,000 homes have also been left without power. But the rains have put out two of the biggest bushfires which have torn through New South Wales in past months. The Currowan fire had burned for 74 days around the town of Shoalhaven, destroying nearly 500,000 hectares and 312 homes.

The Gospers Mountain blaze, north-west of Sydney, had been considered “too big to put out” and had been burning since October.

The massive rainfall has also replenished water supplies in the region, which has been battling years of drought. The Warragamba Dam, which supplies most of Sydney’s water, is heading towards being 70% full, says WaterNSW. At the end of last week it was at only 42% after one of the driest years on record.


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