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sunrat

Aussie bushfires

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sunrat

Australia is on fire (in case you hadn't heard). Unprecedented drought and extreme hot weather has created perfect tinder-dry conditions. So far over 11 million hectares have burned, bigger than Belgium, and estimates of a billion animals have lost their lives including 23 humans. More than 2,000 homes lost. And bushfire season still has months to go.

In December I travelled through eastern Victoria where some of the worst hit areas are, including to Mallacoota where residents had to escape to the beach when fires tore through. The Navy had to evacuate people by sea and there is still no road access. The Princes Highway which is our main coastal highway is still closed for over 100km and slowly being cleared by the Army but likely to remain closed for weeks. The forest through there was absolutely beautiful when I went through but will take many years to recover.

The left hand photo is from near my place today only ~4km from the CBD of which one usually has a magnificent view as in the right hand side pic, now totally obscured:

melbourne-smoke-20200114.png

 

View from the other side of the city, courtesy ABC News:

melbourne-smoke-140120.jpg

Note we are hundreds of kilometres from the main fires!

 

ABC News article showing before and after photos of some of the affected areas

 

Of course total disaster doesn't stop Aussies from having a laugh with this excellent prank on a Scottish reporter who was covering the story from Kangaroo Island, Australia's 3rd largest island of 4,405 km2 (1,701 sq mi) of which about half has burnt so far decimating its large koala population.

Journalist falls for Australian drop bear prank while covering Kangaroo Island bushfires 😁

 

And here's a 5.53am sunrise photo of lovely Pambula Beach where I stayed. You can see smoke haze from fires already burning many km away, a couple of weeks before largest fires developed.

Pambula-Beach-141219-0553.jpg

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securitybreach

I've been watching the media coverage and it's horrible.

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zlim

I sent emails early this morn to my friends living in NSW, Canberra and SA to find out how they are faring.

I did see that tennis players were collapsing while practicing for the Australian Open in Melbourne.

My friends West of Sydney (Blue Mountains area) had a bushfire burning 6 - 8 km away. This was in late December.

 

 

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ebrke

It's terrible. The loss of people, wildlife and infrastructure is unimaginable.

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V.T. Eric Layton

Yes, this entire event it truly horrendous. Hurricanes come and go. Volcanoes blow their tops occasionally. Et cetera... But this... this is epic bad.

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zlim

Thankfully I got emails from the three families I sent emails to yesterday.

They are all safe and their homes are still intact.

 

My friend from NSW moved and where they had lived, 2 hours West of their current location, is under fire. I guess they are counting their blessings that they've moved.

My friend in Adelaide showed me a fire map of SA.  I don't have a scale but the fires appear East of them.

My friend in Canberra said she arrived back (she has family and a daughter in the US that she visits) on the 8th and the smoke has cleared from their area.

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sunrat

We had a lot of rain today including in some of the worst areas but it's predicted to only help for a couple of days. Now there's also danger of flash flooding and landslides in NSW. Also a couple of water bomber planes, a DC-10 and an MD-87, have been held up from leaving the US to come here by tornadoes in Alabama and volcanoes in the Philippines. It's still only January and February is historically our worst bushfire month. 😨

 

roo-bushfire.jpg

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securitybreach

That sucks :(

 

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sunrat

Fires still burning in a number of places but much less than a couple of weeks ago. In a cruel twist, Canberra was hit by intense hail storms with stones of tennis ball size. Melbourne had some too but slightly less severe.

Picture of hailstones in front of Australia's Parliament house in Canberra:

canberra-hail-jan2020.jpg

 

Check out the video in this news article, it shows a car park where every car window was smashed:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-22/what-made-the-hail-and-storms-so-bad/11886016

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securitybreach
10 hours ago, sunrat said:

Fires still burning in a number of places but much less than a couple of weeks ago. In a cruel twist, Canberra was hit by intense hail storms with stones of tennis ball size. Melbourne had some too but slightly less severe.

Picture of hailstones in front of Australia's Parliament house in Canberra:

canberra-hail-jan2020.jpg

 

Check out the video in this news article, it shows a car park where every car window was smashed:

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-22/what-made-the-hail-and-storms-so-bad/11886016

 

That is insane!

 

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zlim

We had a real bad hailstorm here a few years back. The hail was no where near the size of tennis balls and yet it managed to break almost all the windows on one side of a hospital here. Personal property damage to homes and cars was atronomical. When you'd drive you'd see lots of blue tarps on roofs of home and hundred of cars with dimples all over.

Now to ask how my friends in Canberra fared after this next round of mother nature!

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ebrke
17 hours ago, sunrat said:

Fires still burning in a number of places but much less than a couple of weeks ago. In a cruel twist, Canberra was hit by intense hail storms with stones of tennis ball size. Melbourne had some too but slightly less severe.

I read about those storms. Hope this all ends soon.

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sunrat

I saw that about the spiders. Those funnelwebs are quite rare in Melbourne (I don't recall ever seeing one) but more prevalent from Sydney northwards.

There were huge duststorms yesterday followed by rain which resulted in it raining mud. We had another 20mm of rain which brought Melbourne to nearly 3 times January average.

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securitybreach
5 hours ago, sunrat said:

I saw that about the spiders. Those funnelwebs are quite rare in Melbourne (I don't recall ever seeing one) but more prevalent from Sydney northwards.

There were huge duststorms yesterday followed by rain which resulted in it raining mud. We had another 20mm of rain which brought Melbourne to nearly 3 times January average.

 

Jeez, this keeps getting wilder and wilder.

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zlim

My friends in Canberra were safely home and the cars garaged so they personally suffered no damage. So far, so good for them.

 

I'm not sure about the dust storm and a possible friend from decades ago. It was near the town of Parkes. When I went to Oz in 1971 to teach school, there were a bunch of us Yanks who hung around together during the 2 week training period in Sydney. One of the gals from Spokane, Washington got sent to Parkes to teach.  Since she was so far removed from us, three of us took a train to visit her weekends several times until she got acclimated and made friends in Parkes. We lost touch with her. (this was way before the advent of personal computers and smart phones. Now it is so much easier to stay in contact.) She probably got married and has a different surname. We don't know if she stayed or returned to the US.  The guy from OK moved back to the states. I returned to the states where my teaching job was waiting for me and the gal from upper NY State married a guy from Los Angeles and those are my friends living in Canberra since the mid 1970's.

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