Australian Weather News

June 1998

Acknowledgments: Australian Weather News gratefully acknowledges the Bureau of Meteorology as the collector and main source of meteorological data in Australia, along with the thousands of observers who record the weather and rainfall daily. I also thank Don White, Michael Bath, Jimmy Deguara, Jacob Aufdemkampe, Ira Fehlberg and Michael Thompson who routinely provide me with much appreciated information.

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Monday 1 June 1998 Hot in central WA and parts of Qld.

Unseasonable heat in central Western Australia and parts of Queensland

Much of the centre of Western Australia had minimum temperatures 6 to 8C above normal this morning, and daytime maxima 8 to 10 above. Yeelirrie, Wiluna and Leonora recorded top temperatures of 29 or 30, between 10 and 11 above the average maximum for June, whilst Halls Creek's overnight low of 25 and Leonora's 18 were both about 11 above.

In western and southeastern Queensland it was unusually warm overnight, with 19C at Boulia, 14.8 at Miles and 16 at Taroom all 10 above average. During the day, the temperature reached 30C at Birdsville, some 8.5 above the June average.


Tuesday 2 June 1998 Hot in parts of Queensland

Hot night in parts of Queensland 03 Oct 1999

There were record high temperatures in northern and southeastern Queensland overnight. Normanton and Hughenden in the state's north recorded their highest minimum temperatures on record for June in 42 and 34 years respectively, with readings of 24.2 and 20.0. In the state's southeast, Nambour recorded a minimum of 17.8, the highest in 33 years of computerised record.


Wednesday 3 June 1998 Heavy rain on NSW Mid North Coast.

Torrential rain brings flash flooding to Port Macquarie area 26 Sept 1999

Localised flash flooding closed roads including the Pacific Highway briefly in the Port Macquarie area on the Mid North Coast of NSW overnight and this morning. The Hill Street station close to the coast in Port Macquarie recorded 140mm for the 24 hours to 9am, most of it falling in the last 12 hours. Further south, Laurieton PO reported 103mm, Moorland 102.2, Forster/Tuncurry 99.4mm and Kendall PO 86.0. Paul Mossman reports that Mitchells Island, in the Manning River downstream from Taree, had 130mm for the period 9pm til 6am, with a further 44 falling between 6am and 4pm giving a total of 174mm in less than 24 hours. Paul's total rainfall figure for the year so far is a massive 860mm, with 760 falling since the last week of march!

Rain fell off somewhat away from the coast, with the automatic gauge at Port Macquarie Airport several kilometres inland recording only 84mm, of which 45mm fell between 9.50pm and midnight last night and a further 31 between 6 and 8 this morning. Convergence into a stagnating frontal zone combined with strong middle-atmosphere uplift and abundant moisture seem to be the likely cause.

Further heavy showers were reported during the day along most of the coast south of the decaying front in a moist, unstable southeasterly stream. Williamtown Air Force Base recorded 49mm between 3pm and 9pm. Earlier, Sydney Airport registered 33mm between 9pm and midnight last night. Thunderstorms on the Northwest Slopes and Plains during the afternoon gave some heavy falls: Narrabri West recorded 17mm in a heavy thunderstorm with hail during the early afternoon, with Tamworth reporting the same amount in the late afternoon. In the 48 hours to 9am Thursday, Forster/Tuncurry registered 141.6mm, Frenchs Forest in Sydney's north 70mm, and Breeza on the Northwest Slopes 76, with many locations on the coast and ranges from the Illawarra to the Mid North Coast recording 50mm or better.


Thursday 4 June 1998 Heavy rain on Lord Howe Island, Gales in SW WA

Lord Howe Island downpour 26 Sept 1999

Lord Howe Island, off the NSW North Coast recorded nearly 150mm today. Rain commenced around midnight with 100.6mm falling to 9am, 80mm of it between 3am and 9am. A further 48mm fell steadily between 9am and 6pm. The trough which brought heavy rain to the NSW coast yesterday moved over the island today.

Front brings gales to WA's Southwest

An active front crossed Western Australia this afternoon bringing gale to storm force winds to southwest coastal areas. The exposed lighthouses at Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin registered gusts to 57 knots and sustained winds to 48 knots during the late afternoon and early evening. The gales eased mid-morning on Friday.


Friday 5 June 1998 Hot in WA, NT, SA, Victoria.

Temperature records fall, and Adelaide records warmest day in 41 years.

Hot northwesterlies ahead of the active front that swept through WA yesterday gave Adelaide a maximum of 25.4C today, 9.6 above normal and the hottest June day for 41 years. They also broke June temperature records across the state's southeast, and in parts of Victoria. Most of South Australia and the southern Northern Territory experienced top temperatures 8 to 11 degrees above average. Strong winds accompanied the heat, bringing dust from the northern agricultural district and Yorke Peninsula over Adelaide. Temperatures 11 above the June norm were reported from Marla 31, Eudunda 25, and Edinburgh Air Force Base 27 in SA, and Kulgera 30.2 and Curtin Springs 31.1 in NT. Between 10 and 11 above normal were Strathalbyn 26, Renmark 27, Oodnadatta 29.9 and Parafield 25.7 in SA, Walpeup 25.4 in western Victoria and Alice Springs 30 in NT. June high maximum temperature records were broken at dozens of locations in WA, the NT, SA and Victoria, some of the more notable being: Warmun (near Halls Creek) WA 36.2 (previous record 35.6 in 35 years of computerised records), Parafield AP north of Adelaide 25.7 (24.0 in 37 years), Nuriootpa SA 25.3 (24.9 in 41 years), Renmark SA 27.0 (26.0 in 41 years), Murray Bridge 25.6 (25.0 in 32 years), Mildura AP Vic 25.4 (25.2 in 52 years), Kerang Vic 22.1 (21.9 in 33 years), and Scoresby in suburban Melbourne 20.1 (19.5 in 31 years). A gusty change with a few thunderstorms swept through South Australia late afternoon and evening.


Saturday 6 June 1998 Heavy rain on Norfolk Island, Wet and Windy in SE Aust, tornado in Adelaide.

Heavy rain on Norfolk Island.

The trough/low pressure system that gave torrential rain to the NSW Mid North Coast on Wednesday and Lord Howe Island on Thursday produced 9 hours of unusually heavy rain for Norfolk Island this morning. Between 3am and midday, the island's Airport registered 108mm, 34 of it falling in the hour to 6am and another 46mm with a thunderstorm between 8 and 11am.

Wet and windy in SA, Vic and Tas 03 Oct 1999

The active cold front that produced exceptionally high temperatures in South Australia yesterday moved across southeastern states today bringing squally winds and heavy showers. The Adelaide Hills, western Victoria, the Dandenongs and Tasmania's North Coast received general falls around 25mm overnight or during the day. A small tornado was reported in Adelaide's northeastern suburb of Greenwith, partially unroofing seven houses and damaging other properties, fences and trees. East of Melbourne, Coldstream recorded 23mm, Scoresby 22 and Dunns Hill (near Mt Dandenong) 24mm in the 6 hours to 9pm Many mountain and coastal stations in the three states and southern NSW reported gales, with top gusts of 57 knots at Mt Hotham, Vic, 59 on Mount Read on Tasmania's West Coast, and 54 at Thredbo Crackenback. Goulburn Airport in NSW recorded gusts to 46 knots as the front swept through just after 8pm.


Sunday 7 June 1998 Drought-breaking rains in Gippsland, Vic; Cold, wet and windy in SE and SW Australia, but record heat in northern and eastern WA; the snow season begins!

Cold, wet and windy weather in Vic, Tas and southern NSW break a drought and kick off the ski season. 03 Oct 1999

Good rain continued in Victoria's Gippsland district and southeastern NSW today, with falls in some areas over the weekend the highest the drought-stricken area has received for about 3 years. Falls of 25 to 50mm were universal, with parts of East Gippsland receiving over 100mm in the 48 hours ended 9am Monday. Highest falls were 161mm at Mt Moornapa, 154.4 at Tambo Crossing, 126.4 m at Ensay, 109.6 at Buchan and 107 at Bairnsdale. Useful falls of around an inch were received on the Southern Tablelands of NSW where Nimmitabel registered 42.5mm, Canberra 34 and Bombala 33. The rain, following on good falls elsewhere in the nation during the past few months, has boosted winter crops, with the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics forecasting 18 million hectares will be planted.

Unfortunately, not all the news was good. With some of the rain falling as heavy showers on extremely dry soil there has been severe soil erosion in places in Gippsland. It has been described by Associate Professor of Geography at Melbourne University, Brian Findlayson, as one of the biggest soil erosion events in the region in recent history.

The rain in East Gippsland and southeastern NSW was the result of an active cold front moving across the region, enhanced by the development in eastern Bass Strait late last night of a small low. The developing low slowed the movement of the front and intensified the windstream into the area while moving very slowly northeast into the Tasman Sea. The automatic weather station on Mt Nowa Nowa in eastern Victoria recorded 96mm in 15 hours to 9pm, whilst the one on Mt Moornapa recorded 141mm in the 18 hours to 9pm. Bairnsdale Airport registered 47mm between 6am and 3pm.

Cold fronts crossing the WA coast brought gusts to 124km/h to Rottnest Island, 100km/h to Ocean Reef in northwestern Perth, 75km/h at Cunderdin and 96km/h to Geraldton. Wind damage was reportedin and around Trayning, Tammin and Pingelly. Ahead of the cold fronts, warm northerlies gave record June maximum temperatures in the state's central north and eastern regions. Geraldton recorded a top temperature of 29.5, breaking the previous record of 29.2 in 56 years of record. Other record maximal included Meekatharra 28.8 (28.3 in 48 years), Katanning 22.8 (22.6 in 41 years) and Lake Grace 24.3 (23.8 in 34 years). Port Hedland's minimum temperature on Monday morning was 24.3 -- the previous highest June minimum temperature in 50 years of record was 23.1.

In Tasmania, strong winds caused blackouts in the northeast.

Blizzard conditions ushered in the ski season at Falls Creek, with 35 to 45 knot mean winds during the afternoon, and 25mm of precipitation falling as snow between 9am and 3pm. The conditions eased soon after to give the resort 15cm of level snow by 9am on Monday. Moderate snow fell at other Victorian and NSW skiing resorts, with Kosciuszko Chalet reporting about 10cm and Perisher Valley 3cm on the ground at 3pm.


Monday 8 June 1998 Storms and tornadoes in WA, Gales on NSW South Coast, Hot on Norfolk Is.

Violent winter front brings tornadoes and storms to WA 03 Oct 1999

At least four tornadoes, violent storms, gales and heavy rain caused widespread damage in Western Australia's southwest overnight and this morning. An intense low pressure system of around 980hPa passed close by the southern coastline, dragging an active front across the western half of the state between midnight and midday.

Ira Fehlberg reports that at least four tornadoes are known to have occurred. "One at Southern Cross brought down two large metal power transmission line towers, rated to withstand winds of 280km/h, cutting power supplies to the Goldfields. They were twisted and bent right over. Other tornadoes were at Pingelly, Trailing (through the town) and Donnybrook. Unconfirmed reports of tornadoes and large areas of tree and structural damage were reported in the Perth suburbs of City Beach, Huntingdale, Mossman Park and Glendalough. Unconfirmed country areas with damage include Jarrahdale, Dwellingup, Lake Clifton, Margaret River, Dunsborough and Brookton." The automatic weather station at Southern Cross Airport recorded peak gusts of 44 knots at 11.08 and 11.09am, while other high gusts reported were Bickley (Kalamunda) 45 knots at 3.15am, Busselton 51 knots at 5.26am, Cape Naturaliste 55 knots at 7.46am, Cape Leeuwin 57 knots at 5.14am, and Rottnest Island 45 knots at 2.28am and again at 8.24am.

Heavy rain fell ahead of, and with the front, giving the whole southwestern half of the state 10 to 25mm, and many falls of up to 60mm. Armadale, in Perth's southeast, recorded 59.6mm in the 24 hours to 9am, whilst Karnet registered 58 and Dwellingup 54.2mm. Rain ahead of the front was intense in places: Kalamunda registered 30mm and Morawa 23mm in the 3 hours before midnight, while between midnight and 3am Paynes Find recorded 34mm and Lake Grace 21. The front moved remarkably quickly, and retained its punch, giving short, heavy rain and strong winds as far north as the Pilbara coast, where Mardie registered 51mm in the 3 hours to midday, and Karratha Airport recorded 26mm in the same time, with winds gusting to 35 knots around 10.45am and 15mm falling between 11 and 11.30am.

Gales on NSW South Coast

A small low pressure system which developed in eastern Bass Strait late last night moved northeast into the Tasman Sea today, tightening pressure gradients and bringing gale to storm force winds to the NSW South Coast. Point Perpendicular lighthouse, south of Jervis Bay, reported mean winds of 55, 58 and 50 knots at its 6am, 9am and noon observations respectively, while coastal stations further south reported gales during the morning. The heavy rain of the past few days contracted out to sea early in the day.

Hot day on Norfolk Island 03 Oct 1999

Norfolk Island experienced its hottest June day in 59 years of record today with a top temperature of 23.4, 0.5 above the previous record.


Tuesday 9 June 1998 Strong winds cause damage in WA's southwest

Strong winds in southwest WA 03 Oct 1999

Strong winds swept WA's southwest today as frontal systems continued to cross the state. Winds gusted to 109km/h at Cape Leeuwin, bringing down power lines and trees, and causing some roof damage as well as interrupting power supplies in the area.


Wednesday 10 June 1998 Heavy rain and gales again in WA.

Stormy weather again in WA.

In a repetition of Monday's heavy weather, a strong cold front preceded by heavy rain, storms, hail and gales swept across southwestern WA last night and today. This time, the parent low pressure system was further to the south, and damaging gales and tornadoes were not reported. Rain of around an inch was widespread in central and southern coastal districts and the Great Southern, much of it falling in a few hours ahead of the front. Heaviest falls were in the ranges east of Perth, and in the Pilbara where a rain-bearing cloudband drawn in from the northwest ahead of the front produced some unusually heavy falls for June.

The front passed Cape Leeuwin around midnight, though the Cape reported its strongest wind gusts of 59 knots at 6.30pm yesterday. Most parts of the southwest coastal district received 10 to 20mm in a few hours before midnight, with stream showers after the front bringing 24 hour totals to 9 the morning to typically 15 to 30mm. Higher 24 hours totals included Dwellingup 51, Pickering Brook (Kalamunda) 47.8, Margaret River 47.4, Mundaring 42.4 and Narra Tarra, Geraldton 41.6mm. Coastal gales continued in the south today, as a small secondary low formed on the front south of Albany, tightening pressure gradients.

On the Pilbara coast, King Bay, just north of Dampier, recorded 68.1mm for the 24 hours, 52mm of which fell between noon and 3pm yesterday, and there was a further 24mm between 9am and 3pm today. Rain penetrated well inland in the Pilbara and Gascoyne today, giving 24 hour to 9am Thursday totals of 59.6mm at Karratha Station, 57.8mm at Pyramid Station near Roebourne, and in the Gascoyne 41.4 at Mt Vernon, and 41.2 at Minimer, Paraburdoo.


Thursday 11 June 1998 Gales in southern Australia; rain continues in WA north.

Gales across southern Australia as active front pushes east. 03 Oct 1999

The active cold front that swept through southwestern WA yesterday continued to move east today, bringing a cold day to much of WA, and coastal gales along the whole expanse of the nation's southern coastline.

In WA, maximum temperatures were 4 to 10 degrees below normal in a broad strip running north-south down the centre of the state. Snow was reported on Bluff Knoll in the Stirling Ranges north of Albany. West-south-westerly gales continued throughout the day along the southern coast, with peak gusts of 52 knots on Rottnest Island off Perth at 8.57pm, 58 knots at Cape Naturaliste around 4.15pm, 57 knots at Cape Leeuwin at 1.13am and again around 3.45pm, and 50 knots at Hopetoun, on the coast south of Ravensthorpe, at 10.07am.

In SA, Vic and Tas, north to northwesterly winds ahead of the front gave strong to galeforce winds inland as well as around the coasts. Peak gusts from automatic weather stations included: SA: Mt Lofty 60 knots at about 5.30pm, Coal Point on the Eyre Peninsula west coast 67 knots at 8.37pm, Cleve on the Eyre Peninsula and about 30km inland 51 knots at 10.47pm, and Cape Willoughby on Kangaroo Island 59 knots at 3.31pm; in Victoria Dunns Hill near Mt Dandenong 53 knots at 9.46pm; and in Tasmania 59 knots on Mt Read behind Zeehan on the west coast at 9.23pm.

Unseasonal rain continues in northern WA

Average June rainfall in the Pilbara and Gascoyne regions of northwest WA ranges between 20 and 50mm, with the heaviest averages near the west coast. In the past week, most locations along the north coast around Karratha and in a large inland area south of Port Hedland and east of Carnarvon have reported falls ranging from 50 to over 100mm. Karratha Station registered 59.6mm in the 24 hours this morning, bringing its three day total to 124mm, whilst Karratha Airport recorded its second successive daily total of 39mm, bringing its three day total to 104mm. Pyramid Station, 40km southeast of Roebourne, reported 57.8mm in the 24 hours to 9 this morning. A continuing infeed of moist air from the northwest ahead of successive southern fronts is responsible for the rain.


Friday 12 June 1998 Windy in the southeast; cold in WA's Pilbara.

Gales continue in southeast as front moves through. 03 Oct 1999

The front which has produced gales along the country's southern flank for the past two days moved rapidly from the central Bight to the west Tasman today, bringing strong to galeforce winds to coastal and highland areas of Victoria, Tasmania, and southern SA and NSW. Light rain of up to 25mm accompanied the front, but South Australia's Kangaroo Island, Mt Lofty Ranges and Fleurieu Peninsula reported falls of around 40mm. An early morning thunderstorm brought hail to Adelaide's southern and hill suburbs, with wind blowing a 10-metere long section of trees onto a house in Hawthorndene. Gale to storm force winds on the Victorian Alps and NSW Snowy Mountains would have given blizzard conditions had there been much snow, but the system lacked any substantial middle atmosphere moisture. In the strong northerly flow ahead of the front, Mt Buller reported gusts to 62 knots (3.27am), Falls Creek 57 (10.30am), Mt Hotham 65 (6am) and Thredbo Crackenback station 78 knots with a mean speed of 66 knots at 9.30am. Dunns Hill near Mt Dandenong east of Melbourne recorded mean winds of 37 knots with gusts to 51 soon after midnight. Behind Hobart, Mt Wellington summit registered a gust of 71 knots at 6.57pm, several hours after the front passed through at sea level.

Cold day in northern WA 03 Oct 1999

Western Australia's Pilbara region recorded top temperatures today up to 10 degrees below the June norm as a heavy cloud cover and rain persisted, and a wave of colder air arrived from the south. Port Hedland Airport's maximum of 16C was 11.5 below average, breaking the previous record low June maximum temperature of 17.1 in 50 years of record, and coming only 5 days after the station broke its June highest minimum temperature. Mandora's top temperature of 18C was 11 below. Inland, at Wittenoom, the mercury didn't exceed 14, 10.4 below normal, while Marble Bar's midday temperature of 14.4, with steady rain falling from a leaden sky, wouldn't have been out of place on the south coast.


Saturday 13 June 1998 No reports of significant weather.


Sunday 14 June 1998 No reports of significant weather.


Monday 15 June 1998 Cold and wet in SW and S Qld.

Cold wet day in southern Queensland

There was widespread rain of 10 to 35mm across southwestern and southern Queensland today as the cloudband that has been streaming over the WA north coast for the past week took a more easterly track, and uplift was forced by an advancing upper trough. Warilda, about 70km west of Mitchell, registered 38mm in the 24 hours to 9am Tuesday, though most of the rain fell today. Charleville Airport recorded 40mm from early this morning to 9am Tuesday, while Quilpie reported 30mm for the same period. Daytime maxima under the cloud were well below normal today, with 16C at Boulia and 14.5 at Windorah both 7 below.


Tuesday 16 June 1998 Heavy snow in Tas.

Snow blankets Tasmania's central highlands.

A trough of very cold air moving over Tasmania yesterday and overnight combined with a moist southerly airflow to give up to a foot of snow across Tasmania's highlands by this morning. Temperatures at 850hPa (about 4,500 feet) were around minus 5. Liawenee, on the western shore of the Great Lake, recorded a temperature range of plus 1.0 to minus 2.1 in the 24 hours to 9am, with 16cm of snow on level ground.


Wednesday 17 June 1998 Slow moving low brings rain to WA - see report 18 June


Thursday 18 June 1998 Slow moving low brings rain to WA; cold morning in SE.

Slow moving low brings widespread rain to the West.

An unusual weather pattern has brought widespread moderate rain to Western Australia, with some heavy short-duration falls. A frontal zone stalled along the WA west coast on Tuesday night while a developing secondary low formed to the west, then moved eastward into the frontal zone on Wednesday morning. The system stayed more or less stationary in the Perth area until late today, when it began moving slowly away to the east-south-east. Substantial upper divergence and cold air combined with good supplies of moisture to produce widespread rain for nearly 36 hours across most of the state. In the north of the state, this was enhanced by thunderstorm development over the Indian Ocean drifting onshore producing yet more unseasonably heavy falls in this area.

With the exception of pockets on the south and northwest coasts, most of the state recorded falls between 10 and 50mm during yesterday and today. The heaviest rain fell in heavy bursts associated with local convergence. On Tuesday evening, Cape Naturaliste registered 50mm between 3 and 9pm, whilst Cape Leeuwin recorded 47mm in the same period. In the Great Southern, Cunderdin recorded 26mm between 9am and 3pm yesterday, and there were many reports of slightly lower short-duration falls in the Gascoyne, Central and South West and Great Southern.

In the Pilbara, a succession of rain areas and embedded thunderstorms moved in from the northwest. Some of the heavier falls yesterday included: Karratha Airport 33mm and Roebourne 39mm between 6am and noon; Port Hedland Airport 29mm in the same period, then a further 29mm between 3 and 6pm; Marble Bar 39mm between noon and 6pm, then a further 17mm to midnight. Today, Mandora began the day with a thunderstorm yielding 72mm between 3 and 6am

Cold morning in SE Australia

Most of Victoria, NSW and the settled areas of SA shivered this morning as temperatures across the region dropped to 6 to 9C below the June average. The greatest departures were in SA, where Whyalla, on Spencer Gulf, recorded -1, 9.3 below average, and Nonning with -4.5 and Murray Bridge with -3 were both 9.1 below. In NSW, Narrandera recorded -5, 9.2 below the norm. Sixteen towns and cities in western Victoria and the Murray Valley reported minima between 8 and 9 below average, including Echuca -4.2, Ararat -5.2, Rutherglen -6, Ballarat -4.3 and Mildura -3. Victor Harbour, on the coast south of Adelaide, recorded a minimum of zero. Frost level temperatures were reported throughout Victoria, NSW, the southeastern half of SA and parts of southern Qld, with the exceptions of parts of the coastal fringe, and the NSW coast north from the Hunter.


Friday 19 June 1998 Storms and rain continue in northern WA.

Storms bring heavy rain to WA Kimberleys.

The storm lines moving onto the WA north coast from the Indian Ocean moved east onto the Kimberley coast overnight giving falls of up to 100mm in 12 hours. Southeast Waterbank, about 10km north of Broome, recorded 99mm between midnight and noon, 43mm falling between 2 and 3am. During the day, the stream of storms and rain moved east to give Cygnet Bay, 200km NNE of Broome, 34mm in a storm around 3pm, and Derby Airport 25mm between noon and 6pm. The mining settlement of Telfer, about 400km south of Broome, recorded 33mm for the 24 hours to 9am; other reports for that period were Southeast Waterbank 91, Roebuck Plains, Broome 81, and Broome Airport 74. In the 24 hours to 9am Saturday, Cygnet Bay reported 44mm, Dampier Downs, Derby 40 and Derby Airport 28.


Saturday 20 June 1998 Gales rake high country in SE.

Gales, rain in ski resorts.

Gale to storm force winds persisted through today in Victorian and NSW alpine areas, and on the higher peaks in Tasmania as northerly gradients tightened ahead of an active front moving in from the southwest. Thredbo's Crackenback automatic weather station, which at 1957 metres is Australia's highest, reported mean winds of 35 to 50 knots throughout the day, with peak gusts of 61 knots around midday. Both on the Snowy Mountains and the Victorian Alps, temperatures climbed during the day from around freezing to a degree or two above and rain or sleet began falling heavily after midday. At Kosciuszko Chalet, Charlotte Pass, snow depth diminished from 10cm this morning to 6cm Sunday morning, with 29mm of rain reported in the 24 hours to 9am Sunday. Just across the Crackenback Range, Thredbo Crackenback recorded 113mm in the same period, and Thredbo Village 87, whilst Perisher Valley registered 70, all falling as rain.

In the Victorian Alps the situation was similar. Falls Creek's snow depth dropped from 15cm this morning to 10cm Sunday morning, with 74mm rain reported for the 24 hours to 9 on Sunday morning. Mt Hotham registered 75mm.


Sunday 21 June 1998 Heavy rain in Vic, NSW.

Heavy rain eases in the Alps.

Moderate rain fell across western and northeastern Victoria, the NSW South West Slopes and Southern Tablelands, and parts of the NSW Central West today as an active cold front and its preceding trough began moving through the area. Heaviest totals under the cloudband in the strong, moist northwesterly airstream ahead of the trough were predictably around the Australian Alps, where rain eased off around midday. In addition to the totals noted in yesterday's report, Harrietville, in a valley northwest of Mt Hotham, recorded 83mm in the 24 hours to 9am, and Hunters Hill, in the high country halfway between Tallangatta and Corryong, registered 70mm in 15 hours of steady rain to noon. Thredbo Crackenback station recorded 33mm in 3 hours to midday on top of its 24 hour to 9am total of 113mm, and the Chalet at Mt Buffalo reported 161mm for the three days to 9am Monday, mostly falling during this event. Snowmelt continued in the rain, Kosciuszko Chalet reporting just 4cm of snow on the ground at 3pm.

Falls of 20 to 30mm were common across the Victorian West Coast district between midnight and midday in rain associated with the front. Cape Nelson registered 39mm in the 12 hours.


Monday 22 June 1998 Heavy rain in NSW.

Heavy rain and flooding in NSW as low forms over northern inland.

Heavy rain was reported from most of the eastern half of NSW today as a slow-moving trough and cold front stagnated over the state, and a low pressure system formed around midday on the North West Slopes. With very cold air to the west, strong middle-atmosphere uplift around the trough and ample supplies of moisture, widespread rain fell through the day. Heaviest falls to 9am were in the central northern part of the state, with Pilliga reporting 50mm, Mullaley 49, Gunnedah 48 and Keeva, near Nundle, 45. A heavy thunderstorm at Lightning Ridge around 9am, along with steady rain through the day, gave the town 54mm in the 24 hours to 3pm.

As the low developed and moved slowly east, an area of strong convection over the North West Slopes moved south, giving heavy falls and minor flooding in the Peel River catchment south of Tamworth. Tamworth Airport recorded 22mm between 6 and 9pm, whilst Keeva, 40km south-south-east of the city, reported 90.4mm in the 24 hours to 9am Tuesday, to give a 48 hour total of 135mm. The main floodwaters were in Goonoo Goonoo Creek, which peaked at about 5.7m at 11pm, and minor flooding occurred at Tamworth on Tuesday morning with a peak of 4.2m at 4.30am.

During the late afternoon and evening, the area of heavy rain propagated rapidly south, giving parts of the Hunter and much of the Central Tablelands, Sydney area, Illawarra and South Coast 20 to 35mm in around 6 hours. Between 3 and 9pm, Katoomba registered 33mm, Bowral 31 and Ulladulla 35 while in Sydney, Canterbury reported 19.2mm between 9 and 10.30pm, Holsworthy 20.8 in 2 hours to 10.30pm and Badgery's Creek 22mm between 6 and 9pm.

The good news for ski enthusiasts was that rain turned to snow in the Alps early morning as the colder air arrived from the west. The temperature gradient across the state was dramatic today, with many centres in the west of NSW recording maximum temperatures lower than the minimum temperatures just a few hundred kilometres east. For example, Barraba's minimum temperature was 12.8, 11 above normal, while Condobolin and Cobar shivered with top temperatures of 9C, 7 below.


Tuesday 23 June 1998 Wild winter weather brings gales, snow and major flooding to eastern states

Gales, snow and major floods afflict eastern states. 7 July 98

Storm force winds battered parts of NSW and Queensland, snow closed major highways in NSW and a record flood event began in eastern Victoria during a day of wild winter weather along the nation's eastern seaboard. A low pressure system which developed yesterday over the NSW North West Slopes passed into the Tasman Sea off the Mid North Coast around midnight, then moved quickly down the coast to be off the NSW South Coast by midday. It was a classic East Coast "bomb" low, deepening rapidly to 985hPa by late afternoon, when it had backtracked a little up the coast, before slowly beginning to move away to the southeast. Meanwhile, as the low tracked down the coast bringing torrential rain to the southern NSW and eastern Victorian coasts and mountains, a mass of cold air which crossed the South Australian coast yesterday spread up its western flank to bring widespread snow to NSW.

In NSW and southeast Queensland, gale to storm force winds were the main problem during the day. In Brisbane, thousands of homes lost power when strong winds following the passage of the trough associated with the developing low passed through during the morning. In NSW, the winds were caused by the tightening pressure gradient around the developing low, and were strongest in the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains during the evening. Williamtown Air Force Base recorded numerous top gusts between 52 and 57 knots between 6pm and midnight, with peak sustained windspeed of 45 knots at 9pm. At Nobbys Signal Station, on the coast just east of the city of Newcastle, sustained winds between 40 and 58 knots were measured throughout the day from 6am, with the highest sustained speed of 58 knots measured at 6pm.

Thousands of homes in Newcastle and around Lake Macquarie lost power as trees came down on powerlines, while many buildings suffered minor to serious structural damage and roofs were blown off. The SES received over 1,200 calls for assistance up to 6am Wednesday, while the fire brigade received 300 calls during the evening, mostly to deal with fires started by sparking power lines. Many boats on Lake Macquarie were blown off their moorings, and a police launch was sunk in the port of Newcastle. The Pacific Highway was closed at Charlestown, a Newcastle suburb, after a house roof was blown onto the road. Other roads around Lake Macquarie were also closed by fallen trees and windblown debris. In the Blue Mountains, winds at Mount Boyce, just north of Blackheath, gusted to 59 knots at 3pm, and repeatedly between 50 and 56 knots during the evening. Two houses in Lithgow were unroofed, and some 300 calls for assistance were made to the SES during the day and Wednesday, with damage widespread between Mt Victoria and Lawson.

Elsewhere, sustained winds of 40 knots or more were reported through the day from Kempsey, Dorrigo and Casino on the NSW North Coast, Green Cape on the NSW far south coast, Bombala and high level stations around the Alps, and northeast Tasmania and islands in eastern Bass Strait.

Light snow was widespread in NSW during the day, with weather observers reporting snow at Woolbrook on the North West Slopes; Glen Innes, Armidale and Guyra on the Northern Tablelands; Murrurundi in the upper Hunter; Orange, Oberon, Lithgow, Blackheath and Katoomba in the Central Tablelands; Bowral in the Illawarra; and Goulburn and Taralga on the Southern Tablelands, as well as on the Snowy Mountains and Victorian Alps. The snow was often accompanied by strong winds, making it an unpleasant day along the ranges. One particularly heavy band of snow fell from the Cullerin Range west and southwest of Goulburn to the Southern Highlands around Robertson, closing the Hume, Federal and Illawarra Highways for several hours during the afternoon. Roads around Bungendore, Collector, Gundaroo and Goulburn were also closed by this heavy snowfall, while roads around Orange and Oberon were also closed or treacherous. Snowdrifts were still lying on the Cullerin Range to the northwest of Lake George on Thursday morning. Falls of 10 to 20cm of new snow were reported from alpine resorts. A marked temperature contrast continued to lie across the state today, with two towns only 200km apart reporting the extreme departures above and below their normal maximum temperatures for the whole of Australia. At Murrurundi, the mercury only reached 6C, 9.8 below normal, whilst Port Macquarie enjoyed a top of 23C, 4.6 above. Transgrid, which manages the NSW electricity grid, stated that its peak consumption figure of 10,996 megawatts at 6pm today broke the previous winter record of 10,613 megawatts set on 21 June 1995.

In NSW in the 24 hours to 9am, substantial rain fell in all districts except the Western District and the North and Mid North Coasts. Falls in excess of 40mm were widespread, with Parkes (39.4mm) having its wettest June day in a record dating back to 1889. Woolbrook, with 37.0mm had its wettest June day in 38 years of record. Heavy rain in the upper Lachlan River catchment was expected to produce minor to moderate flooding in Belubula River and Mandagery Creek during the evening. In the Tamworth area, rain eased but minor to moderate flooding continued to move down the Peel River toward the Namoi. At Crookwell, north of Goulburn, a woman was drowned when she tried to leave her car as it was caught in rising floodwaters in Sandy Creek. Overall, however, farmers would have been happy with good follow up rains on their winter crops, especially in the 30% of the state still drought-declared.

In Victoria, a story of dramatic floods in the East Gippsland began to unfold during the day as a band of steady, heavy rain was directed onto the mountain-backed coastline by the near-stationary low off the NSW South Coast. In the 24 hours to 9am, Mt Moornapa, located 25km north of Stratford, received 115mm, while Orbost recorded 99.4, Buchan 91.6, Club Terrace 89.4, and Bruthen and Cabbage Tree 87.2. During the day, the relatively narrow rainband remained centred on Orbost, with the town recording a further 106mm between 9am and 3pm, then 46mm from 3 to 6pm. Combienbar, 60km northeast of Orbost, registered 163mm between 3am and 9pm, while Bairnsdale, 70km to the west, recorded 71mm in the 24 hours to 9am, and a further 52mm to 3pm. Hourly reports from automatic weather stations show that the rain fell with remarkable consistency throughout the day. Progressively escalating flood warnings were issued from late morning onwards for river systems along a 250km stretch of coastline, from Sale in the west to the settlement of Genoa in the east. Water levels also began rising in the Gippsland Lakes which fringe Bass Strait along this stretch of coastline.

In the Macalister River, minor flooding began upstream from Lake Glanmaggie after 80 to 90mm of rain fell between 9am Monday and 5pm today. In the Avon, falls averaged 90 to 100mm between 9am Monday and 3pm today, and major flood levels were reached at The Channel gauge in the upper Avon late evening. Both rivers flow out of the mountains to the north of Sale. Further east, the Mitchell River, which flows through Bairnsdale, had reached major flood level at Glenaladale by mid afternoon, with 145mm recorded in the headwaters between 9am Monday and 3pm today at both Crooked River and Waterford. In the Snowy River, which runs to sea south of Orbost, 220mm was recorded at Basin Creek and 182 at Buchan between 9am Monday and 9pm today, giving strong rises in the lower Snowy and major flooding around Orbost by late evening. In addition, 51mm fell at Bombala between 9am and 3pm today, producing large rises in the upper Snowy. Both East and West Branches of the Cann River exceeded major flood levels by late evening, while in the Genoa River, the extent of flooding was not known, but Rockton in the headwaters recorded 125mm between 9am Monday and 9pm today.

With rivers rapidly rising, around 1000 emergency services personnel were mobilised, and evacuations began at Bairnsdale and upstream towns, at Buchan, Swifts Creek and at Paynesville, where Lake King was beginning to rise. Around 20% of the region was without electricity by late evening, and the main Orbost - Marlo Road and dozens of local roads were under water.


Wednesday 24 June 1998 Major East Gippsland floods; wintry gales in NSW, Vic, Tas; flood peaks move downstream in NSW.

State of emergency declared in East Gippsland as record flooding eases.

A state of emergency was declared in East Gippsland today, with the Victorian Government promising up to $50 million in aid as record rainfall and flooding eased. Coming after a two-year drought, nearly 400mm of rain in some areas flooded more than 1000 houses, swept away at least 12 bridges, brought down thousands of kilometres of fencing, killed stock, ruined agricultural produce, disrupted communication, and isolated wide areas.

Club Terrace Post Office recorded 284.6mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am this morning, the heaviest one-day total for rain ever officially recorded in East Gippsland. Cabbage Tree reported 272.0mm, whilst Orbost's 247.6 easily eclipsed the town's previous all-time 24-hour record of 181.1mm in a record stretching back to 1883. The three locations registered 374, 359.2 and 347.2mm respectively for the 48 hours to 9am. Elsewhere in East Gippsland, 24-hour totals ranged from 70 to 130mm. In West Gippsland, Mt Moornapa recorded 98mm and Lindenow 83mm.

Reported flood peaks were: On the Mitchell, 7.95m at Glenaladale around 11pm last night (major flood level 5.5m) and 8.41m at Bairnsdale Pumphouse around 11am this morning. Major flood level at Bairnsdale is 6.5m, and the April 1990 flood peaked at 7.84m. A State Emergency Services spokesman described the peak as the highest since the last century, and possibly the highest on record. On the Snowy, 7.81m at Orbost about 4am today (major flood level 7.0m), 9.06m at Jarrahmond around 4am today (7.4m), and 3.07m at McKillops Bridge on the middle Snowy. The Buchan River at Buchan peaked at 4.16m around 1am, 66cm above moderate flood level.

The situation was chaotic today between the Orbost area and the NSW border as powerlines downed by the gales cut electricity to most of the area. Fallen trees, windblown debris and floodwaters closed dozens of roads, including the main highway through the area, the Princes Highway, east of Bairnsdale. The Omeo Highway was cut north of Omeo, and the Great Alpine Road north of Bruthen. VicRoads crews worked through the day to clear main highways, with the Princes Highway and the Buchan, Dargo and Gelantipy roads reopened by mid-afternoon. Telephones were cut in most of the flooded areas, with the Country Fire Authority making its radio network available to residents for emergencies. Over 20 people had to be rescued from rising floodwaters, with many more stranded and requiring food drops. About 300 people had to be evacuated.

It is ironic that many farmers in the region will be simultaneously drawing drought and flood relief. Erosion is a major problem, as the lighter rain a few weeks ago provided little new grass. Torrents from the rain have caused widespread gully and sheet erosion, and have washed away grass seed. Vegetable growers on the Mitchell River floodplain around Lindenow, just west of Bairnsdale, have reported the loss of all plantings in what is one of the state's major vegetable production areas. Crop losses have also occurred in the Orbost area. Reports from over 100 properties indicated 700 cattle and 3,500 sheep have been lost, but totals were expected to be considerably higher when all reports came in.

Wintry gales sweep Australia's Southeast

The low pressure system which developed dramatically yesterday off the NSW South Coast, maintained gales and highland snow over an area from the NSW Hunter Valley to Tasmania and west to the Victorian Alps today. The Hunter Valley continued to be hard-hit, with sustained winds of 40 to 50 knots reported from Nobbys Signal Station on the coast at Newcastle, and 30 to 40 knots from inland anemometers in the lower Hunter Valley until late afternoon. Williamtown RAAF Base recorded a peak gust of 52 knots around 1am. Other extreme wind gusts around the state were 54 knots at Mt Boyce in the Blue Mountains at midnight this morning, 53 knots at Bega at 4am, and 52 knots at Bellambi, just north of Wollongong, at 6.15pm. 8000 homes were without power between Newcastle and the Illawarra during the day.

Conditions were abysmal on the Gippsland coast of Victoria, with very rough to high seas, sea-level temperatures around 10C all day, squally gale to stormforce winds, and visibility reduced to a few hundred metres by heavy rain and blowing spume. Point Hicks Lighthouse reported a sustained wind of 50 knots at 6am, while Gabo Island Lighthouse reported gusts to 61 knots at the same time.

Snow fell heavily in alpine areas of NSW and Victoria. Falls Creek received 18cm of fresh snow, topping up its snow cover to 60cm. Mt Hotham reported a snow depth of 40cm, Mt Buller 50cm and Charlotte Pass 25cm. In Tasmania, snow blocked highways on the Central Plateau, with 4cm reported on the ground at Tarraleah, and 6cm at Liawenee by the Great Lake. In NSW, light snow was reported at Orange, Katoomba and Oberon, with top temperatures of 3, 5, and 0 degrees respectively. Snow cover and cold weather over the past two days around Goulburn, Yass, Orange and parts of the Northern Tablelands, have caused lambing losses of 10 to 15%, though NSW farmers are generally smiling after receiving 40 to 100mm of rain over the past four days across the whole state apart from the southwest.

NSW flood peaks move downstream

Flooding in the Peel River upstream from Tamworth on Monday moved to the Gunnedah area today, with a peak of 7.74m at the town at 11am with moderate flooding. Minor to moderate flooding is expected as the flood crest moves down the Namoi River. In the state's central west, the Belubula River peaked at 4.91m at Canowindra at 1pm, and Mandagery Creek at Eugowra peaked at around 6.7m late afternoon, with minor flooding expected to move down the Lachlan River.


Thursday 25 June 1998 Continuing cold in NSW and Qld; Gippsland floods.

Cold weather continues in NSW and southern Queensland.

Snow continued to fall on the NSW Southern and Central Tablelands today as cold air pushed northwards into Queensland. Tumbarumba, at an altitude of 645m on the Southwest Slopes reported snow at 9 this morning, whilst Oberon and Lithgow, and the high country of the Central Tablelands had light snow showers through the day. Snowdrifts from this event were still lying in sheltered areas southwest of Lithgow on Sunday 28 June.

Northern NSW and southern Queensland were particularly cold today after the wave of cold southern air swept over the region yesterday and overnight. Amberley Airport, near Ipswich west of Brisbane, recorded a minimum of 0C in a brief calm before sunrise this morning, whilst Coolangatta equalled its lowest temperature on record, set on 20 June 1963, when the temperature dropped to 1.8C. The cold morning was widespread, with Longreach Qld (minus 1) and Coffs Harbour on the NSW North Coast (zero) both 9 degrees below normal, and Springsure on the Qld Central Tablelands -2, 8 below. Temperatures remained low during the day: Pindari Dam, Glen Innes and Inverell all recorded maximum temperatures 7 or 8 below average, with the mercury at Glen Innes only reaching 5 degrees.

High tide causes renewed flooding in Gippsland

About 200 properties in Lakes Entrance, and others at Lock Sport and Paynesville on the East Gippsland coast of Victoria, were threatened by flooding last night, as a high tide pushed up already swollen levels in the coastal lakes of the region. Water 10 to 20cm deep entered beachfront shops at Lakes Entrance around 9pm, but further high tides today produced lower levels than feared.

Meanwhile, in the Victorian high country, repair crews restored power and phones to Omeo this morning after the town had been isolated for two days. About 100 dairy farms near Maffra and Orbost continued to be isolated by floodwaters this morning, with no milk collected for 2 days. The low pressure system responsible for this week's flooding continued to move slowly away to the southeast, giving heavy rain to Tasmania's east coast overnight. Palmers Lookout, just south of Port Arthur, received 87mm in the 24 hours to 9am, its highest June 24 hour registration since records began in 1980, whilst the summit of Mount Wellington received 37mm, falling as snow, also its heaviest June day total in a record going back to 1961. Other heavy totals were 58.4 at Nugent, 53.4 at Southport and 50.2 at Hastings.


Friday 26 June 1998 .




Saturday 27 June 1998 .




Sunday 28 June 1998 .




Monday 29 June 1998 .




Tuesday 30 June 1998 .