The country often termed the land of extremes seemed determined to press the point. Just as authorities in the south of the country issued a "catastrophic bush fire danger" rating, towns and cities in the state of Queensland in the north-east are being hit by devastating floods.
The storms have claimed at least eight lives in flood-related incidents, crops have been destroyed, and roads and railway lines have been cut. Some of the country's biggest miners, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Anglo American, have warned they may not be able to fulfil delivery quotas because of the disaster.
Queensland's Bowen Basin, the country's coal mining centre, is in the middle of the disaster zone. In 2008, when a minor flood hit the region, the price of coal worldwide tripled to a record US$300 a ton and drove up the price of steel.
Shipments of sugar have also been stopped, as the port of Bundaberg, which usually ships about 400,000 tons annually, remains closed.
The Australian bank Suncorp said this week it had received about 1,450 insurance claims since before Christmas. It said the number of claims would rise exponentially once the waters receded and customers returned to their homes.
Anna Bligh, the premier of Queensland, has not said how much the floods would cost the state, but she said the recovery and insurance bill would be in the many billions of dollars.
Australians have long been used to large swathes of the country being virtual no-go areas in the summer months due to drought and bush fires. The flooding in Queensland, however, which now covers an area the size of Germany and France combined, is outside both recent experience and the remit of rescue authorities.
From the air, the centre and south of the state resemble a vast lake, dotted with the roofs of people's homes or islands of dry ground where cattle have taken refuge. Here and there can be seen small boats ferrying people and supplies about.
Six of the state's major river systems have flooded, turning 40 districts in Queensland's rural south and centre into disaster zones. Twenty-two towns have been inundated by weeks of rain, some cut off completely.
Where possible, residents in the worst-hit areas have been evacuated. Last weekend, in the town of Theodore, all 300 residents were moved to dry ground.
The town of Emerald, with a population of about 11,000, has similar plans to evacuate large numbers, where waters have risen to a height of 15 metres.
Rockhampton, one of the larger cities on the coast, is now almost encircled by water after the Fitzroy River burst its banks. It is only accessible from the north. Its airport has also been closed.
In all, the flooding is reported to have affected more than 200,000 people. Warren Bridson, a spokesman for Queensland's emergency authorities, said at the weekend there was no respite in sight as the wet season approached.
"We still have three months of this ahead of us, so we must expect lots more of what we're currently having," Mr Bridson said. In November, the national weather bureau advised the state government of the possibility of up to five cyclones this season. "We've had one, so theoretically we have four to go," Mr Bridson said.
Semi-tropical Queensland is no stranger to floods, but they have tended to be intense, short-lived and localised. From September to November, Queensland received some 25 centimetres of rainfall, about triple the state's normal rainfall for that period.
Julia Gillard, the Australian prime minister, while praising the response of local government, police and the state's emergency service to the crisis, has pledged A$1,000 cash (Dh3,673) for each flood-affected adult and $400 for each child - but many believe this is too little.
Barnaby Joyce, the opposition spokesman for regional development, local government and water, lambasted the Labor government for its lack of foresight and its failure to put in the necessary infrastructure to cope with such a disaster.
"Floods are flowing into houses when they should be flowing into weirs and dams for later, more beneficial use," Mr Joyce said yesterday. "In a couple of years there will be another drought and the response will be to blame everything … the reality is that we were imprudent and did not do the hard work to build the appropriate infrastructure to mitigate against drought and reduce flood damage."