“The roar is unbelievable. You can feel the oxygen getting taken out of the air,” recalled the 57-year-old paramedic, who was on the job treating volunteer firefighters for burns and broken bones at the time.
The second incident was this February, when relentless rain burst the banks of the Richmond River, sending a tsunami-like wave surging through the small town of Woodburn in northern New South Wales, where Morrison lives. He waded in darkness to free a boat stored in the back shed so his family could escape the floodwater.
“I’m in total darkness. I got leeches all over me. Covered,” he told CNN, standing in boots caked with mud in his backyard after a second flood in April.
Australia has long been known as the “lucky country,” partly due to its wealth of coal and gas, as well as minerals like iron ore, which have driven generations of economic growth.