Regions of the east coast of Australia got hit by dreadful storms on Saturday soaking a few of the bushfires which have been causing devastation in the area for months. Though the storms doused off the bushfires it also caused road closures and flash flooding. On the other hand, the chances of the Australian Open getting disrupted decreased.
Even after the heavy rain, authorities were still tackling around 100 blazes which were part of the bushfires responsible for killing 29 people since September. The bushfires are also responsible for destroying more than 2500 houses.
Major highways were closed in Queensland on Saturday
Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, three of the states most hit by drought and bushfires, are now dealing with rain bucketing down in several areas. Major highways were closed in Queensland on Saturday, 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 still possible through the weekend," the Bureau of Meteorology in Queensland said on Twitter on Saturday. "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
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 over the weekend, which has been hit this week already by severe storms and unhealthy smoke from the bushfires.
Skies were clear in Melbourne, however, for the final round of qualifying for the Australian Open, the year's first Grand Slam, and Victoria's Environmental Protection rated the air quality as "good", after an earlier forecast of unhealthy air for the weekend.
There were still more than a dozen fires burning in Victoria on Saturday, with firefighters battling to contain a big blaze in the state's mountain region, fifteen times the size of Manhattan. Victoria's emergency service also issued an evacuation warning due to a bushfire on Saturday for French Island, the state's largest coastal island with a small population of just above 100 people.