Weather News

Satellite images show transition from fires to floods in NSW

Ben Domensino, Thursday February 13, 2020 - 15:24 EDT

Images captured by a NASA satellite have revealed how the recent rain in eastern Australia has transformed the landscape from fires to floods.

NASA's Landsat-8 satellite continually travels around our planet in a near-polar orbit, capturing detailed images of Earth's surface every day. The resolution of each pixel in these images is 30-metres across, which allows us to see the landscape in extraordinary detail when skies are clear.

Two recent images captured over the Shoalhaven region in NSW show how quickly the landscape changed from fires to floods over the last few weeks.

The first image was taken on January 25th, when smoke could be seen lingering over large burn scars in the bushland to the west of Nowra. At this stage, there were still 54 bush and grass fires burning across NSW, 20 of which were uncontained.

Image: Landsat-8 image from January 25th, 2020 showing smoke and burn scars to the west of Nowra, NSW. Source: NASA

Fast forward a couple of weeks and a slow-moving trough of low pressure dumped close to 300mm of rain on the Shoalhaven region in just three days. This is about two month's worth of rain for Nowra.

A satellite image taken on February 10th shows the result of this deluge, with floodwaters spilling across the landscape and bulging rivers ejecting silty water into the Tasman Sea.

Image: Landsat-8 image from February 10th, 2020 showing floodwaters in the Shoalhaven region and burn scars to the west of Nowra, NSW. Source: NASA

Fortunately, this rain also helped put out a large number of fires in NSW, some of which had been burning for more than six months. The burn scars are still clear to see after the heavy rain.

By February 11th, the number of fires in NSW had dropped to 26, only four of which were yet to be contained.

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
National Nine News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

The Insurance Law Service helps disaster victims take on insurers. Now it faces a big fight of its own

06:13 EDT

When Else Seligmann and Andrew Gardyne packed up their home to move to the country, they hoped for a simpler life.

Murray-Darling Basin Plan 'in action' after first major break in drought since deal was struck in 2012

17:23 EDT

The first major flood after eight years of drought is flowing down the Balonne River in southern Queensland this week in what could be the first real test of the northern projects of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, struck in 2012.

Melbourne's cool, wet summer by modern standards

14:49 EDT

Melbourne is likely to have just experienced its coolest summer in at least 15 years.