The Fiji Times

Thundersto­rms lash bushfire-hit regions


MELBOURNE - Thundersto­rms lashed parts of Australia’s east coast early yesterday, causing road closures and flash flooding, but the country was still battling nearly 100 bushfires and some of the affected areas remained dry.

Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, states hit badly by the bushfires that have so far killed 29 people, destroyed more than 2500 homes and scorched millions of acres of land, are now dealing with rain bucketing down.

Major highways were closed in Queensland early yesterday, with the state getting some of the heaviest rain Australia has seen for months, while power was cut in parts of New South Wales after a stormy night.

“Heavy, intense rainfall has eased, but showers and thundersto­rms are still possible through the weekend,” the Bureau of Meteorolog­y in Queensland said on Twitter yesterday. “Take care on the roads — if it’s flooded, forget it.”

Parts of Queensland’s south saw triple the monthly rainfall overnight. No major damage has been reported, although some residentia­l areas were flooded and many of the state’s parks and tourist attraction­s were closed.

New South Wales fire services welcomed the rain, which they said on Twitter would help to control the 75 fires burning in the state, of which 25 are yet to be contained. But, they also said that some fireground­s have not seen any rain yet.

More benign storms were forecast for Victoria, which has been hit this week already by severe storms and unhealthy smoke from the bushfires.

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