Fire-hit Australia faces cyclone in west, heavy rain, floods in East

As Sydney got much-needed rain on Friday, a powerful tropical cyclone was approaching Australia’s opposite coast.

Bush fire-ravaged Australia is bracing for dangerous weather conditions, including heavy rainfall and floods in the east and a severe tropical cyclone in the west.

Tropical Cyclone Damien is expected to hit Western Australia’s northern region Saturday afternoon with a category four storm and bring “very destructive winds” with gusts of 230 kilometres per hour, and “very heavy rainfall,” the Bureau of Meteorology said.

It is currently category three nearing the coast and has already brought severe downpour and damaging winds.

The weather bureau has warned residents in several coastal towns to be prepared for a possible dangerous storm surge, as well as flooding in other inland mining regions.

Meanwhile, in eastern states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland, where bush fires have wreaked havoc since September, the weather bureau issued a “severe weather warning” for damaging winds, heavy rain, abnormally high tides and possible floods.

The bureau said some of the areas in NSW saw up to 211 millimetres of downpour over a 24-hour-period, with 150 mm of rain in Sydney since Thursday.

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State Emergency Services issued a warning for flash floods in some areas, as well as wind gusts in excess of 90 km/h.

Around 40 bush fires continue to burn around NSW, where the state Rural Fire Service (RFS) has turned its focus to helping in flood-related emergencies.

“We have seen significant rain across parts of New South Wales. We need a bit more in the south and south-east of the state, where we still have fires burning,” RFS spokesman Greg Allan told DPA.

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