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Tuesday 22 February 2000

Today's weather extremes

Widespread flooding in western Qld
Torrential rain in western NSW, SW Qld

Highest rainfall, 24 hours to 9am

167.8 Para 2 gauge (40km NE of Wentworth) NSW
150.0 Quilpie AP Qld
139.0 Nargoon Tilpa NSW
139.0 Plane Creek Central Mill Sarina Qld

Other heavy inland falls:
122.0 Hungerford PO Qld
119.4 Annalara (65km ENE of Wilcannia) NSW
118.0 Thargomindah PO Qld
108.0 Wanaaring PO NSW
103.2 Corowa NSW
101.2 Thule Hut Nymagee NSW
92.0 Baden Park Ivanhoe NSW

Rainfall for the 24 hours to 9am this morning (left) and for the week to 9am this morning (right)
The hundreds of millimetres of rain which have fallen over central and western Qld over the past week have gradually swollen streams to the point where the first major flood levels were reached today. Landsborough Creek, NE from Longreach, and the Bulloo River at Quilpie both peaked with major flooding, while major flooding is expected over the next couple of weeks in the Georgina, Diamantina and Thompson Rivers as inland seas of brown water lazily make their way to the south or southwest. All of the streams in flood drain into Lake Eyre, or lose themselves in desert sands in SW Qld or NW NSW. The situation, from west to east, is:
  • Georgina: Minor flooding in the upper reaches around Urandangie to Glenormiston, but moderate to major flooding expected to develop downstream as channels converge.
  • Diamantina: Record rainfall in the Winton area, where over 450mm has fallen in the past week, has led to the highest river flows in half a century. A farmer at Corfield, about 100km NE of Winton, said yesterday that his property is under more than 1 metre of water, the greatest depth since the property was developed in the 1920s apart from a major flood in the 50s. In Winton itself, Western River, which flows into the Diamantina, is in flood with twelve homes, two motels and a caravan park evacuated overnight. Twenty motorists are stranded between flooded channels on Landsborough Highway to the NW of town. Moderate to major flooding is expected in the Diamantina Lakes area, 300km SW of Winton, during the next week.
  • Landsborough Creek/ Thompson: Fast rises in Landsborough Creek overnight flooded several homes and cut power in Muttaburra as the river rose to a peak of 8.10m this morning with major flooding. This is higher than the 1974 peak, though total water volumes are said to be less. The Creek joins other streams to become the Thompson before reaching Longreach, 100km downstream, where major flooding is expected shortly and the main road bridge already under water.
  • Alice/ Barcoo: The Alice at Barcaldine is producing minor to moderate flooding. The flood crest will move into the Barcoo, and later join the Thompson at Windorah.
  • Bulloo: 150mm of rain at Quilpie, most of it falling overnight, rapidly produced major flooding in the Bulloo River locally, with a peak of 5.50m late this evening.
  • Paroo: A flood crest from earlier rain passed Hungerford today with minor flooding. However, over 100mm of rain in the past day led to local minor flooding on the river at Wanaaring in NSW.

The weather situation described in yesterday's news produced more deluges across a wide area of western NSW and SW Qld overnight before dissipating. Some of the more noteworthy falls are given at the top of the tables, and at left, but Quilpie's 138mm which fell steadily over a 12 hour period is extraordinary. The map (above left) shows large areas receiving in excess of 100mm for the 24 hours. Rainfall in the area averages between 10 and 25mm in a normal February for the whole month.  


Highest & Lowest Temps

Maximum Minimum
38.0 Pannawonica WA 29.0 Dum In Mirrie NT
11.0 Crackenback NSW 5.9 Mt Wellington Tas

Greatest variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
27.0 Maatsuyker Island Tas
18.3 Colac Vic
21.2 Lake Cargelligo NSW
22.4 Collarenebri NSW
17.0 Lady Elliot Island Qld
Other extreme readings
Wollogorang NT: 49mm in 3hrs to 9am
Brunette Downs NT: 106mm in 9hrs to 6am
Ayr DPI Research Qld: 92mm in 3hrs to midnight
Barcaldine Qld: 23mm in 3hrs to 9am
Cunnamulla Qld: 28mm in 6hrs to 9am
Quilpie AP Qld: 138mm in 12hrs to 9am
Albury NSW: 27mm in 6hrs to 3pm
Lake Cargelligo NSW: 24mm in 6hrs to 3pm

Wind gusts:
Mt Hotham Vic: 120km/h at 6.30pm
Cape Grim Tas: 107km/h at 4am

Flood peaks:
Landsborough Creek at Muttaburra Qld: 8.10m during the morning with major flooding
Bulloo River at Quilpie Qld: 5.50m late this evening with major flooding

Records set this day

  • 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.