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Saturday 12 February 2000

Today's weather extremes

Flooding rain continues in southern NT, northern SA, and extends into western NSW
Heavy showers in Sydney and strong winds in NSW
Gales in Tasmania

Highest rainfall, 24 hours to 9am

138.6 Ormiston Gorge NT
118.0 Alice Springs AP NT
105.0 Mt Sophia Gordonvale Qld
101.0 Watarrka (Kings Canyon) NT

Other heavy SA/NT falls:
98.1 Santa Teresa Mission NT
88.6 Wallace Rock Hole NT
72.0 Mereenie NT
67.0 Erldunda Station NT
65.0 Idracowra Station NT
65.0 Mungerannie SA

Heavy NSW falls:
67.0 Fort Grey Tibooburra
61.4 Corowa
54.0 Tibooburra AP
52.0 Quinyambie
50.4 Tibooburra PO

Flood rainfall petered out in central Australia late this morning, but not until giving more record totals to an area that averages 10 to 40mm for the whole month of February. Alice Springs Airport received a phenomenal 74mm between midnight and 3am, giving the town a 24 hour to 9am total of 118mm, a February record. Torrential rain fell at other locations in the MacDonnell Ranges as well, Ormiston Gorge reporting 138.6mm and Watarrka (Kings Canyon) 101, of which 46mm fell in 3 hours to 6am. In northern SA, heavy rain stopped falling before midnight, but still gave the police station at Marla, a truck and rail centre in the state's central north, a record 56.6mm to 9am.

The rain has been produced by moist air converging into a deep monsoonal low in SW NT, and a deep trough extending into NW NSW has transported a tongue of moisture into that area giving rainfalls of 50 to 100mm. The settlement of Tibooburra recorded 87mm in 18 hours to 3pm, while the AWS at the airport recorded 86mm in 12 hours to 3pm, falling fairly steadily and in nearly total calm through the period. This is about 3 times Tibooburra's February monthly average. The met office in Cobar reported 34mm in 9 hours to 3pm.

Daytime temperatures from SW NT across to the NSW northwest were 12 to 15 below average today due to the cloud cover and downward mixing of colder upper air due to the rain.

A southerly change that swept through Sydney this evening produced some unusually heavy showers and strong winds. Little Bay, on the coast north of La Perouse in Sydney's southeast, recorded 32mm in 60 minutes to 9.44pm, while Cromer in the northern beaches recorded 32.5 in the hour to 10.51. Winds strengthened into the early hours of Sunday, with a few hours of galeforce southerlies reported from the south coast in the early morning and moving north to the Hunter coast by mid morning. Norah Head lighthouse reported gusts to 85km/h around 5am. Strong winds were also reported on the Central and Northern Tablelands, where emergency services had to clear fallen trees from roads.

Southwesterly gales, cold enough to produce snow on the higher peaks, swept Tasmania today. Atop Mt Wellington, the wind averaged 65 to 100km/h until late afternoon, with the temperature fluctuating between zero and 4. The strongest sustained (10 minute average) wind was 109km/h recorded at 7.30am, when a gust of 130km/h was recorded and the temperature was 0.1.

Highest & Lowest Temps

Maximum Minimum
40.0 Richmond AP Qld 28.4 Winton PO Qld
5.6 Mt Wellington Tas -0.1 Mt Wellington Tas

Greatest variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
38.0 Carnarvon AP WA
38.0 Geraldton AP WA
22.4 Quirindi NSW
23.2 Scone Soil Con NSW
21.1 Marla SA
22.2 Oodnadatta AP WA
22.0 Giles MO WA
6.0 Salmon Gums WA
Other extreme readings
McCluer Island NT: 49mm in 2hrs to 2am
Wind gusts:
Keogh's Pimple, Hartz Mtns Tas: 115km/h at 6.22am
Records set this day
Alice Springs AP NT: Heaviest daily rainfall for February, 118mm beating the previous record of 93.5mm in 58 years of record
Marla SA: Heaviest daily rainfall for February, 56.6mm beating the previous record of 36.6mm in 16 years.

  • Times stated are the clock time in force in the relevant state or territory

  • Stories, including those in the archives, are as new and corrected information becomes available, with updates underlined

  • 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 and the many contributors to the Aussie Weather mailing list who routinely provide much appreciated information.