Reviews of weather events and climate news are normally written some days after the fact to give time for accurate information to become available, and as I have the time to research and write it. If you're looking for weather news as it breaks, I've listed reliable, organised sources on AWN's Weather and Climate Media Reports page.
For information on how AWN uses annotations (*, †) and attributions, go here.
Heavy rain across SW WA
Wet weather returned to southwestern WA with the fronts and troughs that crossed the state from last Tuesday to Saturday. They were brought by a succession of lows that passed close to the south coast, bringing wild weather, storms and high wind gusts as well as torrential rain as the fronts moved through.
Early Thursday afternoon a severe thunderstorm gave Albany Airport a wind gust of 139km/h while, for a time on Friday, almost all southern parts of the state were under Severe Weather Warnings. Everywhere west of a line from Jurien Bay to Wagin to Albany recorded at least 25mm during the week to 24 September with falls over 100mm in the mountains NE of Bunbury where Mount William registered 129mm over three days.
The heaviest rain fell overnight into Thursday 21 September to the south of Perth. The area between Mandurah and Bunbury saw the heaviest of it, with the BoM tweeting a warning of possible flash flooding. Wokalup, 65km S of Mandurah, had its heaviest September day's total in over 60 years of records with 53.0mm in the 24 hours to 09.00 on Thursday 21 September. In the mountains to its NE, Mount William scored 88.4mm and Dwellingup 42.0mm. Good falls spilt over the ranges into western parts of the wheatbelt giving Williams 35.2mm.
On Friday morning, 22 September, with the passage of an active frontal system, wind gusted to 100km/h at Ocean Reef in Perth's northern beachside suburbs, 96km/h on Rottnest Island, 93km/h at Cape Naturaliste and 91km/h at Busselton Jetty. In the early afternoon, Bickley saw a gust of 96km/h and Gooseberry Hill 111km/h in Perth's outer east, while Ocean Reef recorded 104km/h.
Heavy rain continued in the 24 hours to 09.00 Friday 22 September with the heaviest totals a little farther south around Collie, where Worsley Downs topscored with 58.0mm. By later Friday into Saturday, rain had moderated and moved to the South Coast as another low system moved past close to shore. In the 24 hours to 09.00 on Saturday Albany had the highest rainfall with 33.4mm followed by 24.4 at Northcliffe and 23.0 at North Walpole.
|Wednesday 20 September 2017
Australian weather briefs
- Heavy rain on the QLD Far North Coast eased off late yesterday as the trough bringing wet weather moved away to the east. The heaviest total in the 24 hours to 09.00 today was 97.0mm at Cowley Beach between Innisfail and Tully. Between 100 and 225mm was recorded in many gauges between Babinda and Tully over two days in an early start to the wet season in northern coastal QLD.
- Late dry season heat is building in northern WA with the first temperatures nationally above 40° recorded in the East Pilbara and West Kimberley today. Roebourne reported a top of 41° while West Roebuck and Port Hedland reached 40°.
- Ben Domensino notes on Weatherzone that the 0.2mm of rain that has fallen at Sydney Observatory Hill so far this month has given the city the driest start to spring since records began there in 1858. Other locations around the Sydney metro aren't faring much better. Eastern suburbs have picked up the odd coastal shower, giving Dover Heights 4.6mm and Rose Bay 5.2 while in the western suburbs very isolated showers have given Abbotsbury (Fairfield) 9.0mm and Shanes Park 13.6. No other gauges have recorded more than 1.8mm with most completely dry for the month so far.
|Tuesday 19 September 2017
Heavy rain sets records at top and bottom of the country
Unseasonally heavy rain has given some heavy totals on the QLD Far North Coast and eastern Atherton Tablelands in the 24 hours to 09.00 today and has continued through the day. The heaviest falls have been between Babinda and Tully with many gauges reporting totals between and 100 and 225mm over the 36 hours to 21.00 this evening.
The rain is being caused by a stationary or slow-moving upper trough providing instability to moisture-laden onshore winds. Babinda recorded 143mm in the 24 hours to 09.00 today, comfortably above its September monthly average of 122.4 but a long way off its record daily fall for September of 174.2 back in 1953. The nearby Clyde Road Flood Alert gauge recorded 170mm to 09.00 and has seen a further 54mm to 21.00. Babinda has been recording rain for 107 years, but many of the gauges in the area with shorter histories set new September records today.
At the bottom end of the country, as far south as you can go before you get to Antarctica, lonely Macquarie Island also set a new September rainfall record with 31.0mm. Rain has been recorded at Macquarie since 1948. This heavy fall was the result of a moist NW airstream moving down over the island ahead of a succession of fronts.
History repeats as Dominica receives direct hit from Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria, which intensified rapidly overnight to a category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, made a direct hit on the small eastern Caribbean island of Dominica at about 13.00EST today. Dr Jeff Masters, in Category 6 on Weather Underground, reports that a US Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft reported surface winds of 257km/h and a pressure of 924hPa at landfall.
Conditions on the island of 72,000 are not yet known, but are likely to be better than those endured on the island of Barbuda after it was hit by the stronger Hurricane Irma just under two weeks ago. Barbuda is three islands north of Dominica in the arc of the Leeward and Windward Islands at the eastern end of the Caribbean Sea, north of Venezuela. All 1,800 residents of Barbuda have been relocated to Antigua, the nation of Antigua and Barbuda's larger island, as Barbuda has been left effectively uninhabitable [The Weather Network].
Hurricane Irma is expected to pass over or close to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Wednesday and Thursday Australian Eastern Standard Time (EST), then close to the north coast of the Dominican Republic before curving into the Atlantic Ocean east of the United States.
The best information on the current status and forecast movement of the hurricane comes from the National Hurricane Center of NOAA. Be sure you're on the Atlantic tab then click the red hurricane symbol. This brings you to many graphics, but the detail is in the text report links above the graphic thumbnails. Public Adv[isory] links to a summary of the current status of the hurricane and all warnings and watches which is followed by a straightforward description of the current situation and forecast. The Discussion link takes you to the forecaster's own report on the situation, including details of recent hurricane hunter aircraft penetrations and more detailed analysis of the situation.
If you want to know more about how the widely-used Saffir-Simpson scale compares to the Australian BoM scale of tropical cyclone intensity, Wikipedia has this useful article.
The news returns tomorrow
This section of the site will return to normal tomorrow, with the usual digest of information on Australian and overseas weather events, climate news, outlooks and the occasional oddball item I find in my wanders thrown in to keep it from getting too serious.
The causes of the long break have been back end problems in keeping the site running, mainly telecommunications complications that have proved hard to track down and fix. AWN's web servers are in Sydney but most of the work is done where I live in regional NSW, so having the technology that connects us reliable is essential. Fortunately, we have been able to keep most of the site that users rely on most heavily running almost without a break over the past month.