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Disaster declared in flood-hit Australia

Australian authorities declared a natural disaster along parts of the country's east coast as heavy floods cut the main road linking major cities, stranding thousands of people.

Torrential rain soaked the Coffs Harbour region north of Sydney overnight, swamping the arterial arterial /ar·te·ri·al/ (-al) pertaining to an artery or to the arteries.

1. Of or relating to one or more arteries or to the entire system of arteries.

 Pacific Highway with flash floodwaters that isolated almost 5,000 people, emergency officials said on Saturday.

About 40 people had to be evacuated e·vac·u·ate  
v. e·vac·u·at·ed, e·vac·u·at·ing, e·vac·u·ates
a. To empty or remove the contents of.

b. To create a vacuum in.

 from the area hit by the raging floods and New South Wales New South Wales, state (1991 pop. 5,164,549), 309,443 sq mi (801,457 sq km), SE Australia. It is bounded on the E by the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is the capital. The other principal urban centers are Newcastle, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Wollongong, and Broken Hill.  emergency services emergency services Emergency care '…services …necessary to prevent death or serious impairment of health and, because of the danger to life or health, require the use of the most accessible hospital available and equipped to furnish those services'  minister Steve Whan Steve Whan (born 11 February 1964) is an Australian politician and a the member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. He has represented Monaro for the Australian Labor Party since 2003.  declared a natural disaster, releasing state funds.

More than 500 millimetres (20 inches) of rain had fallen in the past two days, Whan said, in the fifth major flooding incident to hit the region this year.

"I guess one of the things we've seen predicted from climate change consistently is that the rain and the weather events will come in more storms and more short-term deluges," he said.

"Unfortunately that's the pattern that we seem to be seeing this year in the area."

Floodwaters were expected to peak at five metres (yards) at Coffs Harbour on Saturday afternoon before easing, the State Emergency Service said, describing as "drastic" the cumulative effect of recent downpours.

"Weather conditions have eased considerably over the last few hours. However, we still have some 4,800 people isolated by floodwaters in a number of north-coast communities," said SES spokesman Phil Campbell.

Intense storms hit the east coast late last month, generating more than 10,000 lightning strikes lightning strike nhuelga relámpago

lightning strike n (Brit) → grève f surprise

lightning strike n (BRIT
 and disrupting train and flight services.

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses were blacked out and a man was killed when his car hit a tree in torrential rains.
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Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:Nov 7, 2009
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