News ‘Once in a century’ floods hit northeast Australia Telegraph Reporters•Local resident Paul Shafer and his daughter Lily stand in floodwaters near star pickets that show where the storm water cover has been removed in Hermit Park, Townsville – REUTERSOnce in a century floods have turned streets into rivers and forced thousands to abandon their homes in northeast Australia, with authorities warning of further downpours over the next few days.Australia’s tropical north experiences heavy rains during the monsoon season at this time of the year, but the recent deluge has surged far above normal levels.Thousands of residents in the city of Townsville in northeast Queensland were without power and up to 20,000 homes are at risk of being inundated if the rains continue.Military personnel were delivering tens of thousands of sandbags to affected locals, as Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk warned residents to be careful.”It’s basically not just a one in 20-year event, it’s a one in 100-year event,” she told reporters Saturday.The Bureau of Meteorology said a slow-moving monsoonal trough was sitting above northern Queensland state, with some areas expected to receive more than a year’s worth of rain before conditions ease.”We could see the rain intensify into early next week as the low… moves out to the Coral Sea,” meteorologist Jonathan How told national broadcaster ABC Sunday.Rocks are seen blocking Muller Street in Wulguru, Townsville, as flooding continues in northern QueenslandCredit: Reuters The region receives an average of some 2,000 millimetres (6.5 feet) of rain annually but some towns were already on track to pass that total.The town of Ingham received 506 millimetres of rain in 24 hours between Saturday and Sunday, of which 145 millimetres fell in just one hour, he added.I’ve never seen anything like this,” Townsville resident Chris Brookehouse told the ABC, adding that more than one metre of water had flooded his house.”The volume of water is just incredible. Downstairs is gone, the fridge and freezer are floating. Another five or six steps and upstairs is gone too.”Blazak said that with adverse weather predicted to continue for up to 72 hours, some regions could see record-breaking levels of rainfall.Conditions are expected to ease from Thursday, although the weather modelling for the event could change over the week, he added.
renee.duff•The strongest Pacific storm of this winter season slammed California with heavy rain, significant snowfall, high winds and travel disruptions on Saturday.A member of the Ventura County search-and-rescue team was killed and nine other people were injured in a car crash on Saturday morning amid heavy rain near Pyramid Lake.The team was at the scene of another vehicle crash on Interstate 5 when a minivan lost control on the wet roadway and plowed into members of the team, according to the Associated Press.”This is a very unfortunate situation that could’ve been avoided,” Los Angeles County fire Capt. Tony Imbrenda said, warning motorists to slow down in the rain.Potent storm blasts CaliforniaAP Photo/Garret FischerFirst, at vero eos et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui blanditiis praesentium et accusamus et iusto odio dignissimos ducimus qui voluptatum.Dead deep-sea oarfish spark earthquake and tsunami fears in Japan
Winters can be tough, especially if you are living in a city that has an especially long, cold and dark season. As an Australian from the sunny state of Queensland, lower temperatures and shorter days are a struggle.
During my year living in Europe, I suffered tremendously from the cold and rain. The lack of sun also affected my mood in a way I did not expect. After talking to Europeans, I learned that many people take winter escapes to brighten their disposition.
So, I planned my escape. Here is why I chose Portugal as the perfect place to rediscover the sun and sea on a budget.
Warmer Temperatures in the Algarve
If you get tired of shoveling snow or piling on an inconceivable number of layers, then the Algarve in Portugal could provide your sea change. The Algarve is the southern region of Portugal which has high temperatures averaging over 60 degrees during the winter.
I visited in early March with a friend who had been living in London. She couldn’t believe the difference in temperature and kicked herself for not packing a bikini. She even gave up her first beach day to go to the nearest mall for swimsuit shopping and waxing.
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Having the Beach to Yourself
The high season in the Algarve is during summer when many hotels and resorts become booked out. However, during winter, you will find dramatically fewer tourists. My friend and I were able to enjoy sections of the beach to ourselves in the resort town of Albufeira.
The temperature might not be warm enough to go swimming, but you can still enjoy walking around in shorts and flip-flops while feeling the sun on your face.
A Budget-Friendly Escape
Despite the recent boom of tourism, Portugal is still one of the more inexpensive travel destinations in Europe. Its position in the west also potentially means shorter and cheaper flights from the United States. There are direct flights from New York City to the Portuguese capital of Lisbon that take less than seven hours, too. From Lisbon, you could be in the Algarve in just a few hours either by bus, train or car.
My friend and I took a relaxed bus ride from Lisbon to Albufeira, then another onto Faro before flying out of Portugal. In addition to the capital, Faro also has an international airport where you can catch a connecting flight.
Portuguese Food and Hospitality
Portugal is a tourist-friendly destination for everyone from backpackers to family groups. Portuguese people are welcoming and generally have a very high English proficiency.
One thing that surprised me during my winter escape was how delicious and affordable Portuguese cuisine is. My friend and I enjoyed three-course meals with a bottle of wine from €16.50 each ($18.82 USD) during our time in Faro.
If you are planning your winter escape to Portugal, get ready for tasty pastries and rich savory dishes that will fill your stomach after lazy beach days.
Click through to read about the most and least affordable places to spend your holiday vacation.