AUSTRALIA is drowning after a spate of heavy rainfall has burst the banks of rivers and dams and has left some areas resembling "inland seas".
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has enforced a warning over 10 million people across the country, as the floodwaters continue to become more dangerous.
Australia Flood Map
Forecasters have described the floods as the "worst they have ever experienced".
The wet weather is not set to calm until March 24, and even without more rain, the Prime Minister warned floodwaters will "remain persistent for some time".
Communities were bracing for water levels higher than they had reached since 1929, as nearly three times the average March rainfall has poured down.
Overflowing rivers have forced the closures of roads and bridges.
It is not only humans desperate to flee the rising waters either – as thousands of spiders and snakes have been spotted attempting to escape the floods.
What has happened so far?
- The flooding began last week but drastically escalated over the weekend.
- Up to 90cm of water has fell in some areas, and the Bureau of Meteorology suggested some regions resemble an "inland sea".
- The extraordinary weather conditions are due to a tropical low off the Kimberley coast clashing with a coastal trough that had been hovering in New South Wales over the last week, alongside high pressure between Tasmania and New Zealand pushing strong winds to the coast.
- Over 18,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes in New South Wales due to serious flooding and a severe weather warning is in place across the entire coastline.
- New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it was "a miracle" no one has died, "given what we have been through".
- The unprecedented rainfall has swept across the Mid North Coast and western Sydney, causing rivers and dams to overflow.
- Sydney's main water source, the Warragamba Dam, also began spilling out for the first time in five years due to the relentless rainfall.
- The military has been deployed in preparation for search and rescue operations, as three weather systems collide during the "one-in-50-years" phenomenon.
- Residents forced to abandon their homes have been offered emergency funds by the Government after Prime Minister Scott Morrison dubbed it an "extremely dangerous" situation.
- Berejiklian explained that the majority of the communities "being battered by the floods" were also victims of the ferocious bush fires and drought last summer.
- Nearly 200 schools in New South Wales will remain closed.
- Shocking images have circulated showing dead wildlife and livestock floating amongst the floodwaters.
- The floods come a year after a series of destructive wildfires swept the nation, as the continent continues to be ravaged by the effects of climate change.
- "I don't know any time in state history where we have had these extreme weather conditions in such quick succession in the middle of a pandemic," Berejiklian said.
- On January 16, thunderstorms and heavy rain swept across parts of the east coast, bringing hope that the fires may at least be slowed.
- On January 11, a terrifying video emerged showing the ferocity of Australia's out-of-control wildfires, showing a raging firestorm engulf a family home while its owners were trapped inside -no one was harmed.
- On January 11, warmer temperatures and elevated winds in the afternoon caused an increase in fire activity in Victoria and southern New South Wales, but fire activity remained much less significant than it was on Friday.
- On January 10, a 90km/h southerly wind is worsening conditions in NSW, and one male firefighter in his mid-20s suffered burns to his face fighting fires in the Snowy Valley region
- On January 9, Victoria has declared a state of disaster after blazes have already burnt 1.2 hectares and claimed three lives in the state.
- On January 8, the plume of smoke that has risen from the inferno is big enough to cover the whole of Russia and parts of Europe.
- On January 7, nearly 2,000 homes have been destroyed in the fires and temperatures are expected to soar again on Friday, prompting fears that two fires could form a new "mega blaze".
- On January 6, Penrith in Sydney was said to be the hottest place on Earth, reaching scorching temperatures of 48.9C.
- On January 5, New South Wales Transport Minister Andrew Constance compared the bushfires to "an atomic bomb."
- On January 4, Australians are bracing for a dangerous and unpredictable night as bushfires are expected to worsen.
- A mass evacuation took place on January 3 as around 1,000 people in Mallacoota, Victoria, who were sheltering on beaches. were ferried to the town of Western Port.
- On January 3, a farmer spotted a creepy devil face looming in the clouds above a forest blaze – he said: "I'm not really into hokey pokey spooky stuff but there's a big devil face right in the fire".
- On January 2 it was announced that the state of New South Wales declared a week-long state of emergency as high temperatures and strong winds are set for the following few days, fuelling the deadly blazes.
- The first day of the year saw Aussies face a "humanitarian crisis" as food, water and fuel began to run out while bushfires continued to spread.
- Throughout November, 1,228,050 acres of land was destroyed in a bushfire at a national park in NSW.
- The country saw terrifying apocalyptic scenes as families were trapped inside their homes and skies turned red in November.
- On 21 November, lightning strikes ignited a series of fires in Victoria.''''''''''
- On November 20, a huge blaze broke out on Yorke peninsula, aircraft were scrambled to water bomb the blaze as it crept closer to two local towns.
- On November 19, Sydney was left "trapped" inside a thick cloud of smoke with dozens of people treated for asthma and breathing problems.
- And in a shocking rant, disgraced rugby star Israel Folau blamed the country's wildfires on same-sex marriage and abortion.
- On November 13, a terrifying 600 mile wide wall of flames swept across NSW.
- The following day, Sydney said they were braced for "catastrophe" and Russell Crowe's mansion came under threat.
- And on the same day in South Australia authorities warned of an "uncontrolled" blaze heading towards homes in the area.
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