The items below are also placed in the Daily Weather Summary for the day in the article dateline. Use the article index to find them. They are normally written some days after the event happened to give time for accurate information to become available. If you're looking for weather news as it breaks, there are good suggestions on AWN's Weather and Climate Media Reports page.
For information on how AWN uses attributions and annotations (e.g. *, †), go here.
New format, better methods to improve AWN News
Mon 1 Jan 2018
I've been working over the holidays to improve AWN's News function - the "N" in "AWN". I'd become frustrated during 2017 that news gathering was taking so much time that there was little time left for writing, the main object of the exercise.
When I began writing weather news in the Daily Weather Summary (DWS) back in 1996, the Internet world was much simpler. For my sources I relied on information from friends, the Bureau of Meteorology, and a handful of bulletin boards and weather-related Usenet newsgroups such as sci.geo.meteorology. Apart from one or two pioneering small news sites, media still meant newspapers, radio and TV.
Since then, Internet information has exploded. In third quarter 2017 Facebook had 2.07 billion users globally (17 million in Australia) and Twitter 330 million globally who logged in at least monthly. Social media are especially energised to post or tweet facts, pictures or videos of any spectacular weather events. Among them are thousands of specific weather- and climate-related blogs, forums, Facebook and Twitter sites.
The traditional media produces over 300,000 individual news articles across all subjects in over 70 languages each day around the world - at least that's the number monitored by the European Union's Europe Media Monitor. Despite the monitor's name, it has global coverage, but focuses on the major national and regional traditional media.
The prime reason for news gathering is to get the day's weather news into each day's DWS, which is the long-term archive for weather information on the site. While the figures and charts on each day's DWS are gathered automatically through the day, they do not cover the details of interesting and dramatic events or climate news around the country, much less internationally.
The improvements to AWN's News function include:
- More streamlined news gathering systems
- Shorter, more pithy articles, with links to further information, relevant images and videos.
- Simultaneous publishing of articles on the AWN home page and in the relevant day's DWS.
- Separation of an article's posting date, shown in the green bar on the home page, and the date the event occurred or finished, shown in a new dateline following the article headline.
- More frequent updates to articles if new information becomes available. These will be noted in the article after the dateline, and a link given on the homepage.
As before, I will post articles after an event has effectively finished to allow time to gather reliable information. For information on events that are forecast, or as they happen, I've given links to media I believe are trustworthy and well-organised on this Weather and Climate Media Reports page.
Tropical Cyclone Hilda gives Broome a blow
Wed 27 Dec 2017
Tropical Cyclone Hilda was named as a category 1 system at 18.00WST on 27 Dec as it approached Broome WA. Its spiral banding is clearly visible on this Broome radar image for 18.10WST. The developing tropical low gave the Dampier Peninsula, north of Broome, record rain in the 24 hours to 09.00WST Wednesday. Cygnet Bay, near the tip of the peninsula, recorded 291.5mm, its heaviest one-day total for any month in 54 years of observations. A further 137.1mm to 09.00 on Thursday produced a two-day total of 428.6, also a record, while the 84.2mm to 09.00 on Friday took the three-day total over the half-metre to a very soggy 512.8mm.
As Hilda was being named, it cruised past Broome giving a wind gust of 139km/h at 18.00 and minimum pressure of 983.9hPa at 18.30 at the weather station on the end of Broome Wharf. Hilda continued to move SSW, crossing the coast at a very narrow angle near Bidyadanga soon after midnight on Thu 28 Dec. The cyclone tracked more southerly bringing widespread rain and thunderstorms, as well as coastal gales as it then moved inland, being downgraded to a tropical low on Thursday afternoon.
The cyclone caused extensive damage in Broome, with less damage reported from Bidyadanga [ABC]. Downed powerlines in Broome blacked out about 2,000 premises. Hilda also attracted international news coverage, such as this article on Al Jazeera.
Heavy storm rainfall continues on NSW Mid North Coast
Wed 27 Dec 2017
Isolated torrential rain fell on the NSW Mid North Coast in the 24 hours to 09.00EDT today, with Port Macquarie Airport registering a record 202mm. This fell mostly in two storms, 67mm between 11.00 and 13.00 yesterday, 26 Dec (of which 41.4 fell in 20 minutes to 11.50), and 105.4 between 23.20 and 01.20 overnight. An upper trough above Port Macquarie intensified the second storm, helping to produce nearly 25,000 lightning strikes within 50km of the city between 09.00 yesterday and 04.00 today according to Weatherzone*.
Either some gauges were playing up or the rain was extremely variable. The BoM's Hydro gauge in Koala St, Port Macquarie town, only recorded 46mm for the 24 hours and the airport record shows evidence of at least two power outages. But a private weather station immediately to the SW of the CBD, adding its records for the two calendar days 26 and 27 December together, recorded 277.1, another just W of the Airport (26 + 27) had 158mm, while a third, W of Lake Innes SW of Port Macquarie (26 + 27), had 219.5. There is therefore good support for the official airport figure which sets a new all-time record for the 22-year-old station. Three other Hydro station on or east of the Comboyne Plateau recorded between 105 and 166mm, and Smoky Cape had 102.