Australian Weather News

August 1999

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 , and Michael Thompson who routinely provide me with much appreciated information.

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Sunday 1 August 1999 Some heavy showers on NSW coast; Cold night in SW SA

An unstable southeasterly stream brought a few heavy showers onto the NSW coast north from Sydney today. The heaviest falls were overnight and again this evening. Williamtown Airforce Base, north of Newcastle, recorded 17mm between midnight and 3am, and a further 16mm between 6 and 9pm. Norah Head, on the Central Coast between Newcastle and Sydney, registered 24mm between 9 last night and midnight, while Sydney city reported 12mm in 6 hours to 3am. On the North Coast, Ballina Airport had 17mm between 3 and 9pm.

The area around Ceduna, South Australia, again experienced an unusually cold night with temperatures 8 or 9 below average. Kyancutta's minimum was -3.7 and Ceduna Airport's -2.0.

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Monday 2 August 1999 Cold night breaks records in SA, NSW

Frosty weather continued across much of South Australia and southern NSW this morning, with a brace of records falling. Minima in the area were generally 6 to 9 below the August norm. In South Australia, Kadina, 135km NW of Adelaide and close to the coast on the Yorke Peninsula, had its coldest August night in 38 years of computerised record when the temperature dropped to -0.6. Price, 40km away on the eastern side of the peninsula, recorded -0.8, breaking its August record of -0.1 in 28 years of record. At Edinburgh Airforce Base, across the Gulf of St Vincent and north of Adelaide, the minimum of -1.0 was also the coldest for August in 25 years, while the minimum in Adelaide itself was 2, the lowest for August since 1994. Yunta and Yongala, in the state's central north, reported minima of -5, only one degree below the South Australian record August low.

Farther east, in the Murray Valley, Renmark (SA) and Tocumwal (NSW) both broke their August record low temperatures. Renmark's -1.0 eclipsed the previous low of -0.3 in 41 years of record, while Tocumwal Airport's -4.0 was 1.7 below the station's previous low over 28 years. Charlotte Pass, in the NSW Snowy Mountains, recorded the nation's coldest temperature of -13.5.

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Tuesday 3 August 1999 Frosty nights continue in SA, NSW

Stable conditions and low humidity again produced widespread frosts across central eastern South Australia and much of southern and western NSW this morning, with early morning temperatures commonly 6 to 9 degrees below normal. Adelaide residents experienced their second frost in a row when the temperature at the Bureau's Kent Town site dropped to 1.7C, just 0.8 above the city's coldest August morning on record in 1888 (a site change, however, makes precise comparison tricky). Whyalla's minimum of 0.2 beat the previous August record of 0.5 in 43 years' record, while Victor Harbour recorded 1.5, its previous August low in 30 years being 1.9. In NSW, Goulburn Airport reported a minimum of -10.1 while the city itself recorded an air minimum temperature of -6.3, 8.4 below normal, and a minimum on the grass of -10. Other low temperatures were Taralga, 40km north of Goulburn, -7.2 (8.5 below normal), Cootamundra -7 (10 below), and Canberra Airport -6.2 (7 below). Charlotte Pass was again the coldest in the nation with -14.0.

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Wednesday 4 August 1999 Further widespread frosts in SA and the southeast; fogs and winter storms in southern Queensland; cold in the Centre

Severe frosts were again reported from parts of South Australia and central NSW, as the high pressure system that has dominated weather in the southeast strengthened to 1038hPa and drifted slowly east into western Victoria. Adelaide experienced its third frosty morning in a row, with temperatures around zero in inland suburbs. Edinburgh RAAF base equalled its newly created record of two mornings back with a low of -1.0, while Cleve and Kyancutta on the Eyre Peninsula both set new August minimum temperature records in over 35 years of computerised data when the thermometers dropped to 1.6 and -4.7 respectively. In NSW, the coldest minima were -7 at Goulburn Airport and Cooma Visitors Centre, -6 at Braidwood, Cootamundra and Parkes, and -13 at Charlotte Pass.

In Queensland, fog was widespread this morning in the Maranoa and Central Highlands, while impressive thunderstorms developed off the SE Queensland coast in the cold, unstable air above warm water. A waterspout was observed in one of the storms off Maroochydore, north of Brisbane.

Cloud cover moving in after a cold night kept temperatures in the southern Northern Territory abnormally low during the day. At Curtin Springs Roadhouse, 60km east of Uluru (Ayers Rock), the temperature only reached 10.4C, while Kulgera Roadhouse farther east only managed 9.5, both 12.4 below normal.

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Thursday 5 August 1999 Cold and wet in the Centre; Frosts continue in NSW

In an unusual day for Central Australia, rain and cloud kept daytime temperatures 10 to 13 degrees below average across the southern Northern Territory. Curtin Springs' maximum of 9.6 was 13 below normal for the second day in a row. Kulgera, near the NT/SA border south of Alice Springs, recorded a maximum of 11.2, 11 below, and has registered 29.4mm of rain in the two days to 9am.

While overnight temperatures in NSW were a little higher than on previous mornings, frosts were again widespread. Woolbrook, south of Armidale on the Northern Tablelands, recorded a minimum of -7.3, as did Goulburn Airport.

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Friday 6 August 1999 Unusually heavy rain on Qld tropical coast; Heavy frontal rain in southwest WA; Heavy rain in Sydney; Severe frosts continue in central western NSW

Heavy rain has been falling on the north Queensland coast -- or, at least, heavy for what is officially the dry season. Cold air aloft has combined with moist air at lower levels converging into a weak inland trough to produce falls of 40 to 75mm in the 24 hours to 9 this morning, and further rain during today. While Babinda and Innisfail both reported about 25mm on Wednesday morning, the rain began in earnest yesterday afternoon with Cairns Airport recording 27mm between midday and 9pm, and Low Isles, off the coast near Port Douglas, registering 36mm in the same period. The heaviest rain fell in the Daintree region, with Cubbagudta, just northeast of Daintree Village, recording 77mm and Cape Tribulation Store 55mm in the 24 hours to 9 this morning. Babinda Post Office registered 63.2mm and Innisfail 46. Rain tapered off this evening after giving further falls of 25 to 40mm. Two-day totals to 9am Saturday include Babinda 97.2, Cape Tribulation Store 91.6, Topaz near Malanda 80, Low Isles 77 and Innisfail 76mm.

The southwestern corner of WA received 15 to 35mm of rain overnight, mostly in a period of about 6 hours, as a developing secondary low pressure system swept past the south coast, dragging an active frontal system across the region. Witchcliffe, 10km south of Margaret River, recorded 24mm between 9 last night and 3 this morning, while Margaret River had 37mm in the gauge for the 24 hours to 9am. Jandakot Airport in southern Perth and Dwellingup 80km south of the capital both reported 18mm in the 6 hours to 9am. Strong winds accompanied the front, gusting to 69km/h at Swanbourne, just north of Perth CBD, at 5.43am.

Sydney and its northern suburbs received a downpour during the afternoon, with 20.6mm falling at Observatory Hill in 3 hours between 2.30 and 5.30pm. The 24 hour total to 9am Saturday was 33.0mm. Avalon Beach recorded 45.8mm for the 24 hour period. Though the surface weather map showed at strong (1036hPa) high just south of the city, it was developments in the middle atmosphere that caused the unexpected rain. Cold air aloft (the temperature at 4,500 feet was just 3 degrees) coupled with a small upper trough that developed just east of the city to produce the lift needed to produce the city's first substantial rain in 3 weeks.

Central, southern and western NSW experienced its 7th consecutive night of heavy frosts, with minima from 4 to 7 below normal. Hillston, in the state's far southwest, experiences 2.6 subzero minimum temperatures in an average August, but the minimum has ranged between -1.4 and -3.0 for each of the past 6 mornings.

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Saturday 7 August 1999 Dense fog envelops Sydney and Hunter Valley

Clearing skies under a strong high pressure system following yesterday's heavy rain were the perfect recipe for dense fog, which blanketed the Sydney basin and the Hunter Valley this morning. Visibility in the CBD dropped below 1km in the early hours of the morning, and did not clear until about 10am. Sydney Airport was closed to incoming flights at times, with at least 25 inbound flights cancelled or diverted. Inner harbour ferries, which do not have radar, were cancelled, and ambulances were called to a spate of car accidents in the fog, including a fatal accident at Castle Hill in the city's northwest. Fog in the Hunter Valley was reported from all stations from Murrurundi to Cessnock and Paterson.

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Sunday 8 August 1999 Widespread useful rain across SE Australia; Windy in the SE; Temperature contrasts in the west and centre

General rains of 10 to 60mm fell across much of the southeast today. The best falls were in northeast Victoria, the Adelaide Hills and northern Tasmania, with over 100mm recorded in Victorian highlands. The rain was caused by an intense secondary depression and its frontal rainband, and most falls occurred in a 6 to 12 hour period as the cloudband passed.

The secondary low developed southwest of WA on Thursday and moved due east towards Mount Gambier, deepening to 992hPa by yesterday afternoon. The front swept across southeastern SA last night, but the low spent most of today close to the Coorong coast, maintaining its central pressure and directing strong winds and wintry showers over southern South Australia. In the 2 day period ended 9am Monday, Gumeracha recorded 67.4mm, Bridgewater and Lenswood 64.2, Lobethal 61 and Uraidla 58.6, and many other locations in the hills around Adelaide reported falls of over 40mm. The Eyre Peninsula and most of the state south of Port Augusta registered 15 to 30mm, with Yongala in the Upper North reporting 27mm between midday and 9pm today. Strong winds circled the low. Neptune Island reported sustained winds to 83km/h and gusts to 106km/h during the morning, while gusts were reported to 87km/h at Port Lincoln and 96km/h at Mount Lofty.

In Victoria, 10 to 40mm fell across the state, though the East Gippsland received only patchy light rain. Falls in the northeast highlands, however, were heavier and more prolonged, with Mount Buffalo Chalet receiving 116.4 and Whitlands, 50km south of Wangaratta, receiving 118.4mm in the 2 days to 9am Monday. 20 to 35cm of new snow fell in the Victorian Alps and NSW Snowy Mountains, with blizzard conditions reported as winds gusted to 120km/h at Thredbo Crackenback in NSW and Mount Hotham in Victoria during the morning. The heaviest rain also occurred this morning: Shepparton received 28mm in the 6 hours and Eildon 42mm in the 9 hours to midday.

The heaviest rain crossed Tasmania after mid morning, giving many parts of the North Coast 40 to 55mm. Top falls in the 48 hours to 9am Monday were Erriba 65.0mm, Barrington 57.6, Diddleum 56.2 and Lilydale and Railton 46.6. In New South Wales, there were widespread falls of 10 to 25mm from the plains to the ranges, heaviest in the south. Batlow topscored with 69.4mm in the 24 hours to 9am Monday, followed by Tumbarumba 56.4, Tidbinbilla 41, Cabramurra 40 and Tumut 39.6.

Some exceptional variations in minimum temperature were reported in central WA and the southern NT this morning. In WA, minima in an area stretching in an arc from north of Kalgoorlie to the southern wheat belt were from 6 to 9 degrees below normal, while those across the southern NT and into SW Queensland were from 6 to 11 above. Mullewa, 100km ENE of Geraldton in WA, had its coldest August morning in 27 years of computer record when the thermometer dropped to 0.5, while Jervois in the southeastern NT had a minimum of 18.0, 11.2 above average.

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Monday 9 August 1999 Wintry showers and snow continue in SE

Wintry showers continued through the day in exposed mountain and coastal areas of Tasmania and Victoria, while heavy snow fell through the day in the NSW Snowy Mountains resorts. Thredbo Village registered 64mm of melted snow in the 24 hours to 9am and a further 28mm to 3pm, while Perisher Valley's figures were 40 and 20mm respectively. At the Kosciuszko Chalet near Charlotte Pass, snow depth has increased from 130cm last Friday morning to 160 this afternoon. Tumbarumba recorded 56.4mm in the 24 hours to 9am, its heaviest August days rain in 109 years of record.

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Tuesday 10 August 1999 Rain, wind and temperature extremes in WA

A cold front that stalled over Western Australia's Southwest today gave blustery weather and some heavy rainfall to Perth and nearby areas. Dwellingup, 80km south of Perth, recorded 47mm in the 24 hours to 9am, then a further 25mm between 9am and 3pm. Perth City registered 21mm between 9am and 3pm, while Jandakot in the southern suburbs received 22mm in a downburst between 6 and 9am. The rain spread slowly inland during the day, giving Brookton, 120km ESE of Perth, 25mm between 9am and 3pm. In the 24 hours to 9am Wednesday, Mt Helena, in the Darling ranges 30km east of Perth, recorded 64mm, nearby Mundaring 47.4mm and Pickering Brook farther south 54.4mm. A second front arrived on the coast early in the evening, strengthening winds and moving the first front off to the east. Gooseberry Hill, 20km east of Perth, reported wind gusts to 102km/h at 6.58pm, while Rottnest Island recorded sustained winds of 76km/h and gusts to 94km/h around 9pm.

The unusual mix of weather across the state produced exceptional temperature contrasts today. Eyre in the southeast recorded a maximum of 27.1, 8.4 above normal while Lake Grace 740km west recorded 13.0, 3.4 below normal. Wandering recorded a minimum temperature of 11.1, 7 above, while Mullewa, 470km to the north, had an overnight low of 1.4, 5.7 below normal. All four readings were the extreme national departure from normal for the day.

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Wednesday 11 August 1999 A wet day in Esperance, WA

Prolonged heavy rain is unusual in Esperance, WA. In 30 years of record, the town's airport has not recorded more than 31.2mm on any August day. This morning, the 9am 24-hour recording was 27mm, while the Thursday 9am reading was 32mm. 26mm fell between 3am and noon today.

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Thursday 12 August 1999 No reports of significant weather

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Friday 13 August 1999 Cold change brings rain and storms to the southeast

The first in a procession of fronts heralding a substantial cold outbreak moved across central and eastern NSW today bringing 20 to 50mm falls to the NSW Central and Southern Tablelands in moist unstable air ahead of the the front. Crookwell recorded 48.2mm in the 24 hours to 9am, while Orange Airport, Bigga, Bathurst Ag Station and Hill End all registered 30 or 31mm. 27 of Orange's 31mm fell after midnight in a thunderstorm and following showers. Storms were also reported overnight in the state's west and on the South Coast. Further good though wet snowfalls were reported from Snowy Mountains resorts, with Perisher Valley gauging 28mm in the 24 hours to 3pm. In Tasmania, light snowfalls were reported from the Central Highlands overnight as the airstream cooled, while by 9am Strahan on the west coast was reporting heavy hail showers and a temperature of 5 degrees.

During the early morning hours, a small secondary low developed near 55S well to the southwest of Melbourne and began moving swiftly northeast under a strong upper jetstream. The low and its associated front moved into western Bass Strait during the early evening and was close to Wilsons Promontory by 9pm. Thunderstorms and wintry hail showers were reported in Victoria south of the Divide, with Warrnambool Airport, Cape Otway and Mortlake all recording 13mm in 3 hours to 6pm. Wind gusted to 74km/h at Hamilton at 5.54pm, 78 at Horsham at 7.19pm and 83 at Port Fairy at 8.15pm as the change passed.

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Saturday 14 August 1999 Cold southerly outbreak brings rain, storms and snow to NSW and Victoria

A cold southerly outbreak established itself over Victoria and NSW today, bringing light snowfalls to Victorian alpine regions and along the Great Divide in NSW as far north as Glen Innes. A small low in the fresh southwesterly stream moved from near Wilsons Promontory last night across the Snowy Mountains this morning, and was located about 300km northeast of Sydney by 9pm this evening, turning the winds to cold southerlies along the southern and central coasts and tablelands. Snow was reported overnight at Omeo in Victoria and, judging from automatic weather station reports, is likely to have fallen on higher ground in much of the east of the state. Weeaproinah in the Otway Ranges west of Melbourne recorded 51.4mm for the 24 hours to 9am in the strong S to SW airstream. In NSW, good falls of dry snow were reported from the Snowy Mountains resorts as the temperature cooled from around zero yesterday afternoon to around -5 this morning, with 40mm of melted snow recorded at Perisher Valley for the day ended 9am. Further north, light snow fell for much of the day at Orange and Oberon and on neighbouring high country. A band of heavy rain that gave Point Perpendicular Lighthouse near Jervis Bay 14mm between 3 and 9pm also gave a short fall of wet snow across the Blue Mountains during the early evening, while snow was reported overnight into Sunday from Nerriga 50km SW of Nowra at an altitude of 630m. Brief heavy snow showers were also reported during the day from Woolbrook, Armidale and Glen Innes on the Northern Tablelands. Thunderstorms occurred on the coast from Sydney north as the cold air arrived, with Sydney's Observatory Hill receiving 50mm between 6pm and midnight from an early evening storm and subsequent rain.

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Sunday 15 August 1999 Snow on NSW Northern Tablelands; Grass fires in Townsville

Snow continued to fall on the NSW Northern Tablelands and North West Slopes overnight and this morning, with depths of up to 20cm reported in the Niangala and Hanging Rock area southeast of Tamworth. Snow also covered the ground from just north of Bendemeer, through Uralla to Guyra, where there was a cover of about 10cm. At Uralla, a second division grand final football match had to be abandoned when lines on the field disappeared under the snow.

A spate of grass fires threatened properties including two schools in and around Townsville, Queensland, yesterday and today. Top temperatures of 30 have been accompanied by humidity around 15% and fresh southwesterly winds in the city.

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Monday 16 August 1999 Cold night in Qld, NT

This morning was abnormally cold over much of eastern Queensland and the Top End of the Northern Territory as cold, dry air from the weekend's cold outbreak arrived in the tropics. Minimum temperatures were 6 to 9 degrees below normal in south central Queensland, and along the Central Coast and hinterland where Collinsville recorded a minimum of 2.4, 8.1 below normal. A broad swathe of the Territory's Top End experienced minimum temperatures within a couple of degrees of the August record, the greatest departure from normal being 5.5 at Larrimah, 9 below.

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Tuesday 17 August 1999 Record rain and blustery weather in SW WA 29 Aug 1999

A pair of fast-moving fronts crossed southwestern WA today bringing brief heavy rain and strong wind squalls to Perth and nearby areas. Perth City recorded 22mm in the 6 hours to 3pm, while, farther inland, Perth Airport and Kalamunda recorded 34mm. Winds gusted to 102km/h on Rottnest Island around 8.45pm as the second front approached Perth. Heavy rain continued overnight to the north and northeast of Perth, with Moora registering 46mm and Wongan Hills 38 for the day ended 9am Wednesday. Both were record 24-hour totals for August, breaking previous records of 45.5 and 34.3 respectively in records stretching back about 90 years. The heavy rain, coming on top of other recent substantial falls, has caused over half of the water supply dams in the Southwest to overflow according to WA's Water Corporation.

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Wednesday 18 August 1999 Gales sweep the southern Australian coast

The pair of fronts that gave Perth wind and rain yesterday swept east today giving coastal gales from eastern WA to southern Tasmania. Roseworthy, 45km NNE of Adelaide, reported a wind gust of 96km/h at 2.20pm, while Cape Willoughby reported a 10-minute average windspeed of 85km/h at 9.22am. Strong winds are common on the summit of Mt Wellington behind Hobart, but the anemometer there averaged over 93km/h at every half-hourly reading between 6.30 this evening and 1am Thursday, with a peak sustained windspeed of 109km/h and peak gust of 141km/h at 9pm as the second, stronger front approached. The northwesterlies ahead of the fronts were unusually warm in South Australia, with Ceduna Airport recording a maximum temperature of 31, 12.6 above average. In Tasmania, heavy rain fell on the north and west coasts, Mt Read behind Zeehan recording 61mm and Trenah, 50km ENE of Launceston, registering 52.0 for the day ending 9am Thursday.

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Thursday 19 August 1999 Gales ease in Vic, Tas; Warm in SA

Strong winds continued to lash coastal and highland parts of Victoria, southeastern NSW, and Tasmania this morning before easing this afternoon. Northwesterlies gave an unseasonably warm night to parts of South Australia, Tasmania and western NSW. Hawker (SA), Broken Hill (NSW) and Fingal (Tas) all had minimum temperatures more than 8 above average, while maximum temperatures today showed similar departures above average across northern SA with Oodnadatta's 31.2 up on the average by 9.4.

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Friday 20 August 1999 No reports of significant weather

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Saturday 21 August 1999 No reports of significant weather

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Sunday 22 August 1999 No reports of significant weather

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Monday 23 August 1999 No reports of significant weather

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Tuesday 24 August 1999 Warm in the Centre and central SA

Warm northerly winds sweeping down from the tropics on the eastern side of a trough system gave an exceptionally warm morning to southern NT and a broad north/south band of SA today. Overnight minimum temperatures were 8 to 10 above normal in the area, with Jervois, 400km ENE of Alice Springs recording 17.0, 10.2 above normal, while in SA Oodnadatta recorded 16.5 (+9.3) and Marree PO reported 15.2 (+9.1). Daytime temperatures in the same area, as well as western NSW and parts of Victoria and Tasmania were also 6 to 9 above normal, with the summit of Mount Wellington behind Hobart registering a tropical 11.3 compared to its average August maximum of 2.1.

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Wednesday 25 August 1999 Continuing warm in the Centre and SA; more moderate rain in SW WA

Exceptionally warm conditions for August continued in the eastern half of SA, western Qld and the southeast of the NT today with minimum and maximum temperatures generally 8 to 11 above average. Overnight minima around the NT/Qld/SA corner country were around 10 above, with Jervois NT reporting 17.0 (+10.2), Birdsville Qld 18.2 (+10.0) and Boulia Qld 18.6 (+9.4). Daytime temperatures in eastern SA, SE NT and also SE WA were typically 8 to 11 above the August norm, with Eyre, south of Madura in WA reporting 29.6 (+10.9), Whyalla SA 28.8 (+10.5) and Snowtown SA 26.9 (+10.1).

A frontal system gave southwestern WA some brief heavy rain overnight, with Dwellingup recording 40mm, Dardanup 34.2 and Mundaring 32.2mm for the 24 hours to 9am, and most coastal areas between Perth and Albany receiving at least 25mm. 26mm of the day total at Dwellingup fell between 3 and 9am.

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Thursday 26 August 1999 .

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Friday 27 August 1999 .

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Saturday 28 August 1999 .

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Sunday 29 August 1999 .

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Monday 30 August 1999 .

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Tuesday 31 August 1999 .

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