The storms could provide much-needed relief to firefighters fighting some of the worst fires the country has seen in decades. But forecasters say it is still unclear whether rain will fall where it is most needed in the next few days, or if there will be enough to make a difference in areas devastated by fire and affected by drought.
So far there has not been enough rain to put out the fires, and the lightning from the storms has also caused new fires.
The authorities are also concerned that a massive flood may cause sudden powerful floods, since years of drought have left some regions so dry that the rain simply falls from the ground. Massive fires have also burned some of the vegetation that would normally absorb precipitation.
The Victoria State Emergency Service posted several images on Facebook that show the damage caused by the storm, including a 4-meter deep drain that had opened.
The flood seems to be making a difference in New South Wales, north of Victoria. The State Rural Fire Service (RFS) said on Twitter on Thursday that “although this rain will not extinguish all fires, it will certainly contribute greatly to containment.”
The RFS had said earlier in the week that if the rain forecasts were met, it could be a panacea for firefighters in the region.
Haze blankets Melbourne
At least 28 people have died throughout the country, and in the state of New South Wales (NSW) alone, more than 3,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. State and federal authorities are struggling to contain massive fires, even with the help of firefighters from other countries, including the United States.
Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne have been spared the worst damage, but have still been affected.