flooding in australiaFlooding in East Toowoomba, Australia.Photo: Kingbob86

Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city, home to 2 million, is bracing for massive flooding this week as storm waters rush down on it from the west. Meteorologists predict this will be the worst flood in a century for Queensland, Australia’s north-eastern state. Three quarters of the state, an area equal to Germany and France combined, is already a disaster area. Damages are projected to reach $13 billion.

This could be the worst natural disaster in Australia’s history: The dams designed to prevent annihilation of the city are already completely full, which means that “[a] volume of water equivalent to two Sydney Harbours is pouring over the vast dam’s spillway into the [Brisbane] river every 24 hours,” reports The Australian.

An astonishing video of a flash flood in the town of Twoomba, Australia, just 70 miles upstream of Brisbane, depicts the damage wrought by just one swollen stream:

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And it’s climate change’s fault: “The thing that we need to appreciate — we’re starting to see the impact of climate change in this region,” said Brad Carter, Mayor of Rockhampton, another town devastated by flooding, reported the AP.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s measurement of the degree to which current ocean surface temperatures around Australia are out of the ordinary is a sea of angry red, indicating conditions favorable for supercharged evaporation and rainfall:

sea surface temperature anomaly

 

Revenge of La Nina: That warm ocean is the result of the strongest La Nina (multi-year weather cycle) in history, reports the Sydney Morning Herald:

“On some measures, it’s the strongest La Nina in recorded history … [but] we also have record-high ocean temperatures in northern Australia, which means more moisture evaporating into the air,” he said. ”And that means lots of heavy rain.”

Scientists caution that they cannot prove a direct link between climate change and the flooding, which is principally caused by the current La Nina, reports the AFP:

Baylor Fox-Kemper, an oceanographer at the University of Colorado, explained: “Many models indicate that there is a link between El Nino [the companion phenomenon of La Nina] and climate change, but they don’t agree as to what that change should be.

But researchers strongly suspect the current floods are affected by our changing climate, reports The Australian:

“You’d have to be a brave person to say it [climate change] is not having some sort of effect,” [said Professor Neville Nicholls of Monash University].

“I can guarantee you in the next couple of years people will start looking back at this event and asking was it so unusually strong because of global warming.”

As if it’s not bad enough, CROCODILES: Giant saltwater crocodiles, which can grow up to 20 feet in length, are invading Australia’s suburbs as they swim upstream. Programmer Dan Nolan just posted this image of a croc washing up in a city park in Gympie, Australia.

crocodile in australia