Australia’s Sydney smashes 70-year annual rainfall record

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Australia’s most populous city Sydney smashed a 70-year annual rainfall record Thursday after a year marked by devastating east coast floods.

By early afternoon, Sydney had registered its highest annual rainfall total on record -- 2,216 millimeters -- with some 86 days still left until the end of the year.

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Sydney’s previous wettest year was 1950, when there were 2,194 millimeters of rain.

It was the highest figure recorded since annual rainfall data for the city of Sydney was first collected in 1858.

With a La Nina weather pattern forecast to bring a wetter-than-average summer, it is likely the final 2022 tally will be significantly higher.

Sydney, along with the broader state of New South Wales, is bracing for another heavy deluge this weekend.

State emergency services minister Steph Cooke said Thursday that more rain could have a severe impact.

“We know that our catchments are saturated, our dams are full, and our rivers are already swollen. So any additional rainfall, no matter how minor, is likely to exacerbate flooding circumstances,” she said.

“Any additional rainfall has the potential to cause flash flooding.”

The annual rainfall data comes from a weather station in Sydney’s central business district.

Australia is at the forefront of climate change, with scientists warning that floods, bushfires, cyclones and droughts are becoming more frequent and more intense as the planet warms.

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