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Australia hit with flash flooding, dust storms as wildfires rage

Click to play video 'Dust storm sweeps through drought-stricken Australia' Dust storm sweeps through drought-stricken Australia
WATCH: Dust storm sweeps through drought-stricken Australia

Dust storms, hail and flash floods have battered beleaguered Australian cities in recent days, extreme weather that has diminished the threat from scores of wildfires that continue to blaze across the country’s southeast.

READ MORE: Massive wildfires are permanently altering Australia’s landscape, scientists say

A hail storm in the national capital Canberra on Monday damaged public buildings, businesses, homes and cars, cut power to some suburbs, brought down trees, caused flash flooding and injured two people, emergency services officials said.

Click to play video 'Severe storm brings golf ball-sized hail to parts of Australia' Severe storm brings golf ball-sized hail to parts of Australia
Severe storm brings golf ball-sized hail to parts of Australia

To the west, a 300-kilometer wide cloud of red dust was carried by wind gusts up to 107 kilometers per hour and descended on the drought-stricken towns of Dubbo, Broken Hill, Nyngan and Parkes, local media reported. Much of the dust is top soil from New South Wales state farms.

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“It’s part and parcel of this record drought we’ve got at the moment,” Dubbo Mayor Ben Shields told Nine Network television.

READ MORE: Severe storms cause flooding, road closures on Australia’s east coast

Hail struck Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, on Sunday and more hail storms are forecast to return. The city has been choked by smoke from distant wildfires in Victoria state in recent weeks.

Click to play video 'Man rows boat down flooded street on Queensland Gold Coast' Man rows boat down flooded street on Queensland Gold Coast
Man rows boat down flooded street on Queensland Gold Coast

Unusually intense storms over the weekend caused flash flooding in the cities of Brisbane and Gold Coast in Queensland state just north of New South Wales, where most of the wildfire destruction has occurred.

READ MORE: Severe storms cause flooding, road closures on Australia’s east coast

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The fires have claimed at least 28 lives since September, destroyed more than 2,600 homes and razed more than 10.4 million hectares. The area burned is larger than the U.S. state of Indiana.

Widespread recent rainfall in New South Wales and Victoria have helped but have not extinguished major fires in Australia’s two most populous states.

Click to play video 'Whirlwind of smoke and ash caused by Australia bushfires forms in New South Wales' Whirlwind of smoke and ash caused by Australia bushfires forms in New South Wales
Whirlwind of smoke and ash caused by Australia bushfires forms in New South Wales

Authorities have warned the fire danger will escalate this week in both states with rising temperatures and drier conditions.