SYDNEY – A wildfire that burned out an area eight times the size of Manhattan has been put out as torrential downpours across Australia’s east coast brought relief to firefighters who have been battling blazes for several months.
The number of fires still burning across New South Wales has reduced to 37, according to the Rural Fire Service, from more than 130 at the start of the year, after parts of the state were hit with several hundred millimeters of rain in recent days.
While the downpours will be welcomed by farmers dealing with prolonged drought conditions, they brought with them the risk of flooding across many coastal areas. Sydney was forecast to receive around 100 millimeters of rain Sunday, with the deluge expected to continue into Monday.
The New South Wales emergency service issued a severe weather warning, with risks ranging from damaging winds to abnormally high tides and dangerous surf. About 19,000 homes in the greater Sydney area were without power after fallen trees took down power lines, power company Endeavour Energy said in a Twitter update.