Watch: Extreme flooding inundates Sydney, Australia as climate change rages on
Australia has had some painful reminders of climate change, from the devastating wildfires of January 2020 to the floods that ravaged New South Wales in March 2021. Now, in early July 2022, the Sydney area is suffering major flooding once again, forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.
On Monday, July 4, Australian officials ordered more than 30,000 residents of the Greater Sydney Area to evacuate because of “life-threatening” floods, according to the Associated Press. CNN reported that eastern New South Wales had been pounded with more than 1.6 feet of rain during a 48-hour period, and AP reported that between that deluge and heavy rain before that, New South Wales had received at least three feet of rain altogether.
As severe as the flooding that New South Wales suffered in March 2021 was, Australian officials believe that this flooding is shaping up to be even worse.
Murray Watt, Australia’s manager of emergency management, told AP, “The latest information we have is that there’s a very good chance that the flooding will be worse than any of the other three floods that those areas had in the last 18 months.”
\u201cFloods in #Sydney #australia evacuation orders for thousands; officials warn of more rain\n#Worldnbc\u201d— World NBC (@World NBC) 1656941226
\u201cVIDEO: Windsor Bridge is flooded in Richmond, New South Wales. \n\nRapidly rising rivers swamped swathes of rain-lashed Sydney on Monday, forcing thousands to flee dangerous floods as the city's largest dam spilled torrents of water\u201d— AFP News Agency (@AFP News Agency) 1656900817
\u201c#Sydney region braced for further heavy #flooding\u201d— Himanshu Purohit (@Himanshu Purohit) 1656916830
New South Wales on the East Coast is the most densely populated state in Australia, which is the only country in the world that takes up an entire continent. Historically, Australia’s East Coast has had some of the country’s most expensive real estate because it is known for having easier living conditions than the rugged Outback, which goes on for hundreds of miles in Central Australia. But climate change is making life in Eastern Australia increasingly difficult.
Axios’ Herb Scribner, in a July 4 report, describes severe flooding in Australia as “the new normal” — and a brutal reminder of the effects of climate change.
“Heavy precipitation events are a hallmark of climate change, with warming air and sea temperatures boosting the amount of moisture in the atmosphere available for storms to wring out,” Scribner explains. “Numerous studies show clear ties between increased extreme precipitation events worldwide and human-caused climate change. The fact that this is the fourth major flood event in New South Wales, including Sydney, in such a short time illustrates Australia’s vulnerability to such events, as well as the challenges ahead for adapting to the new normal.”
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