'Bring It On!': Heavy Rain Helps Firefighters But Comes With A Warning
For months the rumble of thunder and pitter-patter of rain have long been a distant memory. But now, finally, rain has fallen across Victoria and New South Wales, helping extinguish a number of fires.
Severe thunderstorms and possible flash flooding are predicted for parts of NSW, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, while Sydney is also set for a drenching.
The NSW Fire and Rescue Service said there are now currently 85 blazes burning across the state, with 30 to be contained as rain has fallen across a number of firegrounds.
This figure is down from the 105 fires that were burning across NSW on Monday at 9 pm, with 38 of those not yet contained at the time.
"All fires are at Advice. We are starting to see some good falls across some firegrounds. Let's hope some of our farmers are also getting some moisture," the Tweet said.
Most of NSW is expected to receive rain from today, except for the west and southwest of the state, with rainfall to continue through to Monday.
The BoM says due to the "hit and miss" nature of thunderstorms, it is difficult to forecast exactly where the heaviest rainfall will be but they expect parts of bushfire and drought affected areas of the east coast to see between 50 to 100mm of rain over the next few days.
Other areas, however, could see very little.
For instance, areas around the South Coast and Southern Tablelands are predicted to receive up to 30mm but the BoM says the rain will be patchy in other parts of NSW.
At this stage, the BoM website doesn't indicate any warnings in place for NSW but that could change at any moment.
The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) says heavy rainfall could trigger flash flooding, falling trees and landslips after fires wiped out trees and growth.
"While the rain is welcomed, heavy rainfall and storms in fire affected areas can lead to dangerous conditions such as a higher risk of flash flooding, falling trees and landslips," NSW SES assistant commissioner Paul Bailey said.
The SES warned residents to prepare their properties by trimming overhanging branches, cleaning gutters and pipes, securing loose items in their backyards and not parking under trees or power lines.
Residents rejoiced as heavy rain swept across the state and the city this morning. Many took to social media to express their relief and share images of the storm, including Danny Busch in Mudgee who posted a video of rain tumbling over a number of NSW Fire Service vehicles.
Others sent their well wishes to those battling fires across the state, pleading for the rain to reach those areas.
In Victoria, thunderstorms rocked Melbourne and surrounds on Wednesday evening, while also sending a drenching across the state.
A road water alert was issued for the city after some north western suburbs like St Albans saw up to 77mm of sudden rain.
The rain did clear the hazardous bushfire smoke blanketing the city -- which had caused the closure of a runway at Melbourne Airport as well as flight delays -- but rather than help ease the current active blazes, the storms might mean more bushfire trouble.
Lightning ignited fires in Victoria's Great Otway National Park, south of Geelong, yesterday, and authorities fear it could do the same in the fire-ravaged East Gippsland and north east regions.
Thunderstorms are also likely to produce damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding.
The BoM issued a severe thunderstorm warning late on Wednesday for the north east, East Gippsland and parts of central Victoria.
"Thunderstorms: a bit of a two-edged sword. While they can bring some much useful rain, it can also come down in pretty fast, high quantities," BoM senior meteorologist Kevin Parkyn said.