Australia sees golfball-sized hail, dust storms from severe weather as wildfire season ‘far from over’

19 January 2020

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AUSTRALIA – As wildfires continued to burn through parts of eastern Australia, severe storms on Monday brought hail and flooding to major cities in the region.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology issued severe thunderstorm warnings for the Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory as powerful storms moved through.

In the Australian capital of Canberra, a violent thunderstorm produced hailstones as large as golf balls, damaging buildings and smashing car windows throughout the city.

Streets were also covered in hailstones as drivers attempted to navigate through areas that were impacted by flash-flooding.

Photos from outside the  Australian Parliament House showed the large hailstones on the front lawn.

Emergency officials in Canberra reported over 1,900 calls for service, setting a record for the day, Australia’ Nine News reported.

The storm also caused flash flooding, knocked out power for many and left two people injured, according to local officials. Severe weather also impacted the southern city of Melbourne, where the Australian Open is being held.

While thunderstorms were causing flooding issues in the southern part of the country, those further inland in places still impacted by the ongoing drought.

Large dust storms were reported in the towns such as Dubbo, Nyngan, Parkes and Broken Hil, where a dust cloud that was 186-miles wide descended over the area, Sky News reported.

Images posted to social media showed the towering cloud arriving in communities.

While storms have brought some relief to the area that’s been impacted by ferocious wildfires over the past few months, officials warned the danger is still not over. As of Monday, there are still over 80 blazes burning in the New South Wales and Victoria states in the southeastern part of the country.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters on Monday the recent rain had proved “very helpful” to bushfire-affected communities, but that the storms caused other weather-related issues, the BBC reported.

“Ultimately, we need to remain vigilant,” Andrews said, adding the fire season, “is far from over.”

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