Eastern Australia under flood warnings amid La Nina event

Australia has been hard-hit by the impacts of climate change in recent years. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

CANBERRA - Australia's weather forecaster warned Saturday of potential heavy flooding in parts of New South Wales, as much of the country braces for unusually heavy rains in the coming months due to a third straight La Nina weather event.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning for flooding in parts of western New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, saying "major flooding" was possible at the towns of Gunnedah and Wee Waa late on Saturday.

Australia has been hard-hit by the impacts of climate change in recent years, enduring floods, searing temperatures, changing fire and rainfall trends, rising sea levels, and ocean acidification.

New South Wales' emergency services commissioner Carlene York told ABC television on Saturday that 12 flood rescues were made overnight.

The weather bureau said Tuesday much of Australia would face unusually heavy downpours in the coming months, confirming that a La Nina weather event was under way for the third year in a row, likely lasting into 2023.

Extreme weather in March left at least 13 people dead. Tens of thousands had to evacuate in Queensland and New South Wales, with town centres submerged, homes washed away and power cut.

The La Nina event puts the densely populated east coast on alert when many residents are still rebuilding after the floods.

Ms York warned of a more intense storm season from October to March due to greater rains owing to the La Nina weather.

"The threat of flooding is real… out there in the community," she said. "Weather we have had over the last 12 to 18 months, it's been relentless rain." REUTERS

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