Baranduda’s flash flood a sign of things to come

A dreadful flash flood hit Baranduda (on the outskirts of Wodonga) last month (2 May 2019). Such events are set to increase with climate change. According to Melbourne University researchers, “Debris flows in southeast Australia are likely to become more frequent and widespread as wildfire activity and rainfall intensity are predicted to increase.” Hourly rainfall intensities are increasing in southeast Australia and daily rainfall extremes are projected to increase. When such changes occur alongside increases in wildfire frequency and intensification of El Niño–Southern Oscillation, debris flows will become more frequent and widespread. In Victoria alone there have been hundreds of these events since 2003, i.e. fires (either bushfires or controlled burns) then landslides. Baranduda is but one of many casualties. This issue requires urgent mitigation and adaptation; mitigation to drastically reduce the carbon in our atmosphere and adaptation/planning to ensure homes and dams are not built in areas at risk of post fire landslides/floods.

House interior photos courtesy The Border Mail.

Reference: Petter Nyman , Ian D. Rutherfurd, Patrick N.J. Lane, and Gary J. Sheridan. Debris flows in southeast Australia linked to drought, wildfire, and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation. Accepted for publication 12 March 2019 by Geology

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