Mar 29, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Australia's second round of flooding this month triggers fresh evacuations

 Flooded farm buildings and crates on March 29, 2022 in Ballina, Australia.

Flooded farm buildings and crates in Ballina in New South Wales, Australia, on Tuesday. Photo: James D. Morgan/Getty Images

Heavy rains in eastern Australia prompted fresh evacuation orders Tuesday for thousands of people still reeling from deadly flooding earlier this month.

Driving the news: The first round of flooding killed at least 21 people and ravaged buildings across the states of New South Wales and Queensland. Already, two people have died after being swept away in floodwaters in Queensland, per state police.

Threat level: New South Wales emergency services minister Stephanie Cooke told a news conference Tuesday that moderate to major flooding was expected in the town of Lismore, where floodwaters killed several people earlier this month.

  • "It's a rapidly evolving weather and flooding situation," Cooke said.

Context: Scientific studies show human-caused climate change has increased the likelihood and intensity of heavy rainfall, which can lead to flooding.

  • Heavy rains are more likely in eastern and northeastern Australia during La Niña years, as is the case now. But this month's rains have exceeded what's expected from La Niña-related trends alone, Axios' Andrew Freedman notes.
  • One of the firmest conclusions of climate change research is that hydrological extremes, both heavy rain and drought, are worsening around the world —including in Australia, which has endured drought, heat waves, wildfires and flooding in recent years, per Freedman.
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