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World Australia fires latest: Rain and hail pelt fire-ravaged states, bringing new risks -- and potential relief

04:45  17 january  2020
04:45  17 january  2020 Source:   cnn.com

Fires 'far from over' as storms sweep Australia

  Fires 'far from over' as storms sweep Australia Thunderstorms bring rain to fire-affected areas but also cause damage through hail and flash floods.Storms have brought heavy rain to fire-hit regions of eastern Australia but authorities warn the nation's bushfire crisis is still "far from over".

Severe thunderstorms are pelting some regions of Australia suffering from historic wildfires with powerful rain and large hail . Related Stories. Rain and hail pelt fire - ravaged Australian states . Nanos on the Numbers gives you the latest political, business and social trends.

AUSTRALIA – Severe thunderstorms are pelting some regions of Australia suffering from historic wildfires with powerful rain and large hail . The fires that have swept through Victoria and New South Wales all summer are some of the most powerful and damaging conflagrations Australia has seen in

a man standing in front of a sunset: Nancy Allen and Brian Allen stand outside as high winds push smoke and ash from the Currowan Fire towards Nowra, New South Wales, Australia, on January 4, 2020.
Gallery by The Atlantic

Severe thunderstorms are pelting some regions of Australia suffering from historic wildfires with powerful rain, bringing much-needed relief to firefighters battling the worst blazes the country has seen in decades.

"Our fingers are crossed that this continues over the coming days," the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) said Friday in a tweet.

Rain has fallen on most firegrounds in the state over the last 24 hours, the RFS said. However, it wasn't enough to put out the flames. Eighty-two fires are still burning, including 30 that are yet to be contained.

Residents of drought-hit areas who have spent years waiting for rain celebrated its arrival on Thursday. Rain fell in major cities, including Sydney, where water flowed through the streets.

Patsy the dog saves sheep from Australian fires: 'You little champion'

  Patsy the dog saves sheep from Australian fires: 'You little champion' Who's a good dog? Patsy, the kelpie-border collie mix, is a very good dog.Patsy's humans did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Cath Hill, whose brother is Patsy's guardian, spoke to Metro UK about the very good dog. Hill told Metro Patsy and her human buddy rounded up a herd of sheep and the dog brought them to the farm's safest paddock as the farmer attacked the fire.

Severe thunderstorms are pelting some regions of Australia suffering from historic wildfires with powerful rain and large hail . The fires that have swept through Victoria and New South Wales all summer are some of the most powerful and damaging conflagrations Australia has seen in decades.

Rain and hail pelt fire - ravaged Australian states , bringing new risks -- and potential relief (CNN). Dark smoke from Australia fires is circling the Earth, NASA says (USA Today). Venezuela: convoy attacked as lawmakers barred from assembly (The Guardian).

Forecasters predict more rain over the next few days, but they warn it could cause flash flooding in areas of parched land. Years of drought have left some regions so dry that rain just runs off the ground. The massive fires have burned through some of the vegetation that would normally soak up the precipitation.

a large bridge over some water: Heavy rain falls ahead of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2020.© Darrian Traynor/Getty Images Heavy rain falls ahead of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 15, 2020.

Trees weakened by fire are also at risk of falling, and rain could wash ash and debris in waterways, causing water pollution, authorities say.

The Victoria State Emergency Service posted several images on Facebook showing damage from the storm, including a sinkhole four meters (13 feet) deep.

Lightning from the storms has sparked a number of new grass fires in New South Wales and Victoria, though it's hoped the damp conditions will help stop the flames from spreading.

Burned tigers, rescued kangaroos: Australia bushfire disinformation

  Burned tigers, rescued kangaroos: Australia bushfire disinformation Tiger burns in Australia's bushfires? Tiger tiger, burning bright A graphic photo that appears to show a tiger being devoured by flames has been shared tens of thousands of times in Facebook posts decrying the deaths of millions of animals in deadly Australian bushfires. Some estimates do indeed put the death toll from the blazes at nearly half a billion animals. But the image is actually a 2012 photograph of a taxidermied tiger that was burned by Indonesian authorities during a crackdown on wildlife smuggling.2.

Australia is being ravaged by the worst wildfires seen in decades, with large swaths of the country devastated since the fire season began in July. State and federal authorities are struggling to contain the massive blazes, even with firefighting assistance from other countries, including the United States .

Severe thunderstorms are bringing temporary relief , along with new risks , to Australia that has been ravaged by historic bushfires. Rain and hail pelt fire - ravaged Australian states , bringing new risks -- and potential reliefToday at 12:04 AMwww.cnn.com.

Parts of Melbourne were hit with as much as 77 millimeters (3 inches) of rain, causing flooding and some damage, the Victoria Bureau of Meteorology said Thursday.

CNN affiliate Nine News reported some neighborhoods were hit by a month's worth of rain in just hours, though not in East Gippsland, where some of the worst fires in the state are raging.

Earlier this week, the New South Wales RFS had said that if the rain forecasts held true, it could be a panacea for the region's firefighters.

"This will be all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one," it said Monday on Twitter. "Fingers crossed."

Haze blankets Melbourne

The fires that have swept through Victoria and NSW all summer are some of the most powerful and damaging conflagrations Australia has seen in decades.

At least 28 people have died nationwide, and in the state of NSW alone, more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. State and federal authorities are struggling to contain the massive blazes, even with firefighting assistance from other countries, including the United States.

Australian sheepdog credited with saving hundreds of animals from fire

  Australian sheepdog credited with saving hundreds of animals from fire Patsy the Wonderdog helped herd sheep into safety as fires burned in Victoria.Stephen Hill credits his dog, a shepherd mix, with bringing more than 220 sheep to safety during Australia's devastating wildfires.

Severe thunderstorms are pelting some regions of Australia suffering from historic wildfires with powerful rain and large hail .The storms or whether there will be enough of it to make a difference in fire - ravaged and drought-stricken areas.So far there hasn't been enough rain to put out the fires

Severe thunderstorms are pelting some regions of Australia suffering from historic wildfires with powerful rain and large hail . The massive fires have also burned through some of the vegetation that would normally soak up the precipitation. The Victoria State Emergency Service posted several

All this has been exacerbated by persistent heat and drought caused by climate change. Tens of thousands of people participated in protests around the country last week calling on the government to do more to combat the climate crisis.

The situation is already dire. Significant amounts of flora and fauna unique to Australia have been burned or killed. One group of ecologists estimated that perhaps a billion animals have been affected nationwide. Some towns have been running out of water. Others have gone up in flames completely.

Smoke from the fires has blanketed major cities in haze in recent weeks.

Rain has helped clear the skies, but the air quality is expected to worsen in coming days, according to the Victoria Environment Protection Authority.

Haze has affected the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, with officials canceling some practice sessions and qualifying matches earlier this week. Slovenia's Dalila Jakupovic was forced to retire after having trouble breathing.

In recent years, extreme temperatures have made for tough conditions at tennis' first Grand Slam of the calendar year -- some competitors collapsed or complained of heatstroke at the 2018 event.

Tennis Australia officials say they're taking precautions to protect players should the heat and smog return.

Temperatures in Melbourne have dropped sharply in the last 48 hours, to below 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit), eliminating the risk of excessive heat -- for now.

Russell Crowe tweets photos showing how rain has helped his property heal from fires .
Actor Russell Crowe's rural New South Wales property, which was scorched by the massive bushfires that have been burning through Australia, underwent a dramatic transformation after recent heavy rains in the area. © Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe/Getty Images Russell Crowe is seen at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2016. The Academy Award winner tweeted a photo of part of the property taken 10 weeks ago, after the fire tore through it, and the same scene taken again Monday morning.

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