Politics

We Regret To Inform You That Everything Is Still Fucked

Here's the latest update in apocalyptic Australian weather.

Australian weather bushfires hail smoke dust

Cast your mind back to simpler times when all we had to complain about during summer was the ice in our eskies melting too quickly and not having enough aloe vera to cover our sunburn.

Now we’re complaining about air quality so poor it’s hazardous to breathe and our houses burning down.

“(This year) will possibly be called the darkest summer in the state’s history,” the NSW Emergency Minister said in January, but he easily could have been talking about anywhere along Australia’s east coast.

We’ve pivoted from fire, to ice, back to fire, to dust, to floods so quickly the country’s collective head is spinning, all while our politicians assure us that “Australia is doing our bit on climate change“.

We’ve tried to keep a running tally of every batshit insane weather event that has hit our south east corner just in the last week or so, and it’s getting to be a long list.

Things are not ok guys.


UPDATE: February 10

NSW:

Much of the central and south coast of New South Wales received more than 200mm in 24 hours. In amazing news, the downpour finally extinguished the Gospers Mountain mega-fire, which was Australia’s largest bushfire at one point. The RFS is now expecting all fires in NSW to be extinguished by the end of the week.

QLD:

Severe storms also flooded areas across south east Queensland, causing havoc in some areas but bringing relief in others.

Some farmers in the Granite Belt saw their first significant rainfall in years. The town of Warwick received two years worth of water supply in the last few days.

Dalby experienced some of the worst flooding, with an emergency alert being issued after the creek rose more than three metres.

UPDATE: February 7 

NSW:

Heavy rain has seen the Bureau of Meteorology declare a severe weather warning for 1000km of the NSW and Queensland coast. Firefighters and farmers have welcomed the rain, which has helped to put out some of the fires, however it has led to flooding in many areas including Sydney.

Byron Bay was one area hit hard with flooding, with 280mm falling overnight.

Meanwhile, 43 fires are still burning across the state.

QLD:

Torrential rain caused flash flooding in South East Queensland, with some areas receiving 90mm of rain in one hour.

The heaviest falls were recorded north of the Sunshine Coast — Tin Can Bay and Coops Corner recorded 395mm over the last three days.

WA:

Cyclone Damien is due to hit the Pilbara region on Saturday evening. It is expected to cross the coast as a category 4 system, the second highest classification, which could produce wind gusts up to 250 kilometres per hour.

It is one of the strongest systems forecast in recent years.

 

UPDATE: January 28

ACT:

January 28: A fire in Namadgi National Park is Canberra’s most serious bushfire threat since 2003. It is believed to have started by a Defence Force helicopter landing light, which created enough heat to set the grass on fire. It reached more than 7,900 hectares in size overnight.

New South Wales:

January 24: Today, Sydney’s air quality is back to hazardous, so I guess we should all get used to never leaving our houses again. The city is shrouded in bushfire smoke from the 70+ bushfires burning across the length of the state. At least this time the Harbour Bridge is still visible.

Hail and rain hit parts of the city’s west and north, closing the airport briefly, but the smoke is expected to stick around.

January 23: A dust storm which blew through Sydney in the evening covered the city in a layer of red dirt, followed by a bit of rain that mixed in nicely to create some kind of hybrid mud rain that rained down on our cursed souls.

On the central coast severe storms caused power outages.

Meanwhile six bushfires were also burning at emergency level, with more than 80 still burning. One fire, south of Canberra, was being fought by three US firefighters in a Large Air Tanker when the plane crashed, killing everyone on board. The crash bought the death toll from Australians bushfire crisis to 32.

January 19: The central west was hit by a huge dust storm so thick it turned the sky black in Dubbo. Prolonged drought mixed with heavy winds has left a red haze hanging over towns in the area.

January 17: The NSW central coast was hit by flash flooding. Further south, bushfires continued to burn.

ACT:

January 23: A fire in Canberra’s south-east sat at emergency level for most of the afternoon, threatening homes and closing the airport.

January 20: A huge hailstorm hit Canberra, causing so much damage the Insurance Council of Australia called it “a catastrophe”.

January 18: Thick smoke has covered the city for weeks.

Victoria: 

January 24: Eastern Victoria stared down the worst of the fires three weeks ago, but there are still more than a dozen burning across the state.

January 23: Skies in Mildura turned a lovely apocalyptic-shade of orange after being hit with two days worth of dust storms. The haze spread to Melbourne, where people woke to find the Yarra River had turned a spectacular shade of brown. The dust there mixed with a little rain to send ‘mud rain’ down from the heavens.

January 20: Thunderstorms led to severe flooding in several areas of the state. Melbourne was hit with a month’s worth of rain in less than 24 hours. The day before they were also hit with hail stones the size of golf balls.

January 15: Heavy rain and hail hit parts of the state including Melbourne, Geelong and Bendigo.

January 14: Bushfire smoke covered Melbourne and air quality fell to hazardous levels. It didn’t stop organisers of the Australian Open from forcing tennis players to compete in qualifying matches though, despite the city reportedly having the worst air quality in the world.

We’ll leave you with this quote from Scott Morrison during his UN speech last year.

“Our children have a right not just to their future, but to their optimism. Above all, we must let our children be children, let our kids be kids, let our teenagers be teenagers, while we do the work positively together to deliver the practical solutions for them and their future.”

Anyone else feeling optimistic?