Floods in Australia

There are often floods in Australia.

While El Niño often brings droughts to Australia, La Niña often brings heavy rain, particularly to eastern parts of Australia.

In northern Australia, monsoonal rains cause floods during the wet season every year. These floods can be quite damaging, and although they haven’t killed people lately, in the history they used to. Here is some information about what causes floods, their effects, and some famous floods in Australia.

Dead Trees, Lake Bonney, South Australia, Australia, Pacific
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What Causes Floods
With some exceptions like when a dam was broken which caused the flooding of New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina in 2005, floods are most often caused simply by too heavy rains. Heavy rains can be caused by different reasons, like severe storms and tropical cyclones (hurricanes) like Cyclone Tracy, Cyclone Yasi and Cyclone Larry; or they can be natural, like monsoonal rains which always bring heavy rainfall. In Australia, El Niño – La Niña conditions also affect how heavy the rains will get.

Flood Waters Rise to Meet a Bridge on the Victoria River
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Floods Effect
Floods can have devastating effects, even when people do get time to prepare. They don’t only destroy buildings and crops, they isolate towns as roads and railway lines get cut off, they kill cattle and wild animals, and they can cause health hazards as some insects may start breeding uncontrollably, sewerage systems may be broken, and drinking water may be in short supply.

Major Flash Flood Filled with Mud and Debris after Hurricane Dean
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Some Famous Australian Floods
Some of the worst Australian floods have been the 1916-1917 flood in Queensland that devastated the town of Clermont and killed 61 people; the 1955-1956 floods in New South Wales that destroyed parts of Maitland and killed 22 people; and the 1974 floods from Cyclone Wanda in Brisbane that destroyed 6,000 homes and killed 12 people. There have lately been pretty bad floods, but they haven’t costed any lives, except the famous 2010 Queensland floods where 35 people were killed.


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