Sea foam forms at Froggy's Beach at the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Reuters/Rob Ledger
Gulf Today Report
Heavy rains, wild winds and huge seas for the fifth straight day on Tuesday have forced widespread evacuations in Australia’s northeast coast.
New South Wales (NSW) state emergency services directed hundreds of residents of several regional towns to move to safer places as water levels continued to rise due to the heavy overnight rains shutting low-lying roads.
The cyclonic conditions, generated by an intense low-pressure system off the Queensland coast, have swallowed beaches and submerged large swathes of the heavily populated regions between NSW and Queensland state borders.
Quiet seaside suburbs were battered by the storm with high seas destroying some of the most famous beaches along the coast, including the main beach at popular tourist spot Byron Bay in northern NSW.
The storm also whipped up thick sea foams, a rare event, along the beaches in Gold Coast that lured families and children to play in the bubbles, footage on social media showed.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the heavy rains are expected to weaken by late Tuesday or early Wednesday but warned isolated thunderstorms may still generate localised heavy falls triggering flash floods.
Australia is passing through a summer expected to be dominated by the La Nina phenomenon, typically associated with greater rainfall and more tropical cyclones - a sharp contrast to the massive bushfires that razed the country last summer.
"We’ve been warned by the weather experts that La Nina will have an impact over summer in the eastern coast of Australia so we need to expect the unexpected," NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told Australian Broadcasting Corp television.
"I’m hoping what we’ve seen in the last few days won’t be repeated frequently over summer, but it could. Our weather experts tell us they are expecting conditions worse than what we’ve seen in quite a number of years."
More than twice the usual rainfall for the whole of August has fallen over parts of the southern island of Kyushu over the past 48 hours.
Emergency services ordered people living in low-lying areas on the city's north-western fringes to flee to safety, as authorities warned of a potentially "life-threatening" situation in New South Wales state.
Television footage showed flooded roads across the state, people kayaking through the streets, water engulfing houses up to the windows and rivers overflooding. Video posted on social media and broadcast on local TV showed an entire house being swept away in floodwaters in the state’s centre.
As the wind and rain moderated on Thursday, the flood risk increased from rising rivers. Around 220 homes threatened by a swollen creek were ordered to evacuate at Traralgon, east of Melbourne, State Emergency Service chief officer Tim Wiebusch said.
The Abu Dhabi Police called on drivers to abide by safe driving rules and turn on the vehicle’s lights while driving at night between sunset to sunrise. They also called on them to use the vehicle lights when necessary to alert others and avoid possible accidents and injuries.
The Abu Dhabi Court of Cassation upheld a judgment that obligated a yacht’s owner to pay compensation of Dhs2.058 million to the insurance company, which compensated a number of yachts damaged by a fire caused by the first yacht.
“In my view, overseas Pakistanis should not only get the voting rights but should be allowed to be members of Parliament and Senate as well. No one can understand the problems of expats better than the overseas Pakistanis themselves. Their contribution towards uplifting the country’s economy is immense. Their services should be recognised,” Hans said.
The UAE is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and there are people from different expatriate communities who saw this ‘Golden’ journey through their eyes. Munawar Hussain, a Pakistani expatriate, who has been residing in the country since 1970 is one of them.
Hailing from Sialkot, Hussain’s journey to reach Dubai was not easy or smooth.