Mother nature is seeing 2015 out with a bang.
Floods, severe storms, unseasonably warm weather and blizzards have battered the globe in the past week, while Australians have contended with floods, out-of-control bushfires and cyclonic systems.
In the Northern Territory, about 500 residents of the Daly River community have been evacuated since Sunday, after the waterway reached a height of 23.3m at the Dorisvale Crossing – the second highest on record. Locals were on croc alert where they’d usually be walking down the street.
Flash flooding was expected in Queensland late on Tuesday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, which put out a warning for the Cairns, Mareeba and Gordonvale areas. It followed the cancellation of a severe weather warning for the east coast.
Firefighters contended with drier than usual grasslands and forests in Victoria, as they fought to contain a fast-moving blaze at the Otways which destroyed 116 houses.
Temperatures have also been exceedingly hot, with Melbourne posting its hottest daily maximum of 41.2 degrees on December 19, two degrees warmer than the last high set in 2013, while Darwin reached a high of 35.5 degrees, exceeding the top last set in 2012.
Elsewhere, the United States is mopping up the destruction left by a monster storm system that battered a large swathe of the country.
Texas was hit by three tornadoes on Saturday, killing 11 people and damaging hundreds of buildings. In Missouri and Illinois, 15 people died in floodwater that swept through homes and over roads.
A further 17 people were killed by extreme weather in the US in the past week, which included bitterly cold weather and blizzards that bucketed snow on parts of New Mexico and Texas.
Weatherzone meteorologist Sam Terry said it was getting to peak seasonal conditions in both the northern and southern hemispheres, making the chance of extreme weather more likely.
“Extreme weather events are an everyday occurrence globally. Places like the Philippines, Western Australia and the east coast of the US commonly experience tropical cyclones or the equivalent at around the same time,” he told The New Daily.
“In fact, in the case of WA, cyclones bring much-needed moisture to the dry inland areas. They are an important part of the eco-system, as are bushfires, which is unfortunate for us humans.
“Currently, both hemispheres are heading into the peak of their seasons, in which case we would expect to see an increasing amount of extreme weather occurring, such as heatwaves in the south, and snowstorms in the north.”
Crocodiles swim into town
A deluge of water was not the only unwelcome inhabitant to enter town after the Daly River spilled into nearby communities.
Heavily populated by crocodiles, at least 400 residents evacuated to the Darwin Showgrounds will have to contend with the carnivorous reptile when they are able to return to their homes.
NT Emergency Service director Andrew Warton confirmed reports of crocodiles seen within the community.
“We are in the Territory and that is another risk we face,” he told the NT News.
“The Daly River is obviously populated by a large population of crocodiles and already we’ve seen reports of crocodiles sighted within the community.”
‘We are moving into a period of unknown extremes’
Troops were deployed in the United Kingdom to help deal with severe flooding in parts of England and Wales.
The worst hit area was York, where the River Ouse reached levels more than 5.2 metres above normal levels on Tuesday morning (AEST).
“We are in a period of known extremes and we are moving into a period of unknown extremes,” Environment Agency deputy chief executive David Rooke said, The Telegraph reported.