AUSTRALIA NEWS: Australian hurricanes Floods raise evacuation warnings in NSW cities

Australian authorities have issued warnings to relocate to the southern cities of northern New South Wales (NSW) as storms hit the nation’s east coast.

On Tuesday, paramedics said they had filed about 150 requests for help in the past 24 hours.

Large-scale hurricanes hit the NSW coast and southeast of Queensland on Monday, causing major landslides.

The already defunct beach in Byron Bay – a popular holiday destination – has disappeared, locals say.

Officials say the storm moved south on Tuesday, bringing with it the threat of floods in NSW.

They told communities around the Tweed River to evacuate on Tuesday, after banks exploded. Some electricity, internet and other utility networks are also affected.

Weather forecasters say the system has already released heavy storms – about 1,000mm over four days.

Australia is currently experiencing La Niña climate, which often brings heavy rainfall and tropical storms during the nation’s summer.

What’s new?
Heavy rains have hit Australia’s 1,000-mile east coast (including Brisbane and the Gold Coast) – but were expected to drop by Tuesday.

In one area, the Upper Springbook in Queensland, about a meter has been raining since Saturday, the Bureau of Meteorology reports.

The NSW State Emergency Service said it had carried out 12 rescue operations so far, warning people to stay indoors and avoid flooding.

Some roads in the area between Tweed Heads and Taree were forced to close due to flooding.

On Monday, authorities in Queensland warned that they had seen “unusually high” waves up to 30cm higher than normal. All beaches in the area are closed.

Officials also recorded an 8m-high eruption and winds exceeding 104km / h (64 mph) in Byron Bay.

About 2 500 emergency calls have been made in two districts since Thursday, mostly home water damage and fallen trees and electricity poles.

There were no confirmed reports of injuries or deaths, but authorities said they were investigating the death of a car accident on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.

How bad is the weather?
La Niña season has historically been linked to rising rainfall and flooding in Australia.

Two of Australia’s three rainy years recorded in La Niña, and floods have been recorded in 12 of the 18 events since 1900.

Typically, La Niña sees a 20% increase in moderate rainfall from December to March in eastern Australia, reports the Bureau of Meteorology.

Scientists, however, say that climate change also reinforces the influence of La Niña, and makes climate patterns more stable.

NSW Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian – whose country was devastated by last summer’s fire – said experts expected the situation to be “worse than we have seen in several years”.

“I hope what we have seen over the past few days will not be repeated many times in the summer but it is possible,” he said on Tuesday.

“I know many residents in the north of NSW, are familiar with the flood conditions, but what the forest fire season taught us last year is an unexpected expectation.”

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