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Friday 17 March 2000

Today's weather extremes

Near cyclone brings more flooding to north Qld coast
Severe thunderstorms lash SE WA
Hot in SA, western Vic

Highest rainfall, 24 hours to 9am

300.0 Paluma Qld
252.2 Ingham Qld
248.0 Gairloch Herbert River Qld
240.0 Halifax Qld

Other high Qld falls:
225.6 Lucinda PO
188.6 Yabulu Townsville
175.0 Lucinda Point
168.4 Home Hill
160.0 Innisfail
157.0 Mt Sophia Gordonvale
156.0 Babinda PO
152.0 Lansdown CSIRO Mingela

High falls in southern WA:
75.8 Eyre
64.0 Laverton AP
62.8 Laverton
54.0 Rawlinna Depot
53.6 Yeelirrie

A broad tropical low which threatened to develop to cyclone strength yesterday evening brought gusty winds and torrential rain to a narrow coastal strip between Cairns and Proserpine Qld overnight and this morning. Major flooding developed in the Haughton River, minor flooding in the Herbert River and widespread local flooding in all streams in the area. A tropical cyclone warning issued at 5pm last night was cancelled 2 hours later when it became clear that the low of around 1002hPa would not deepen. However, between 150 and 300mm of rain fell from the system, mostly over a 12 to 18 hour period. High 24 hour registrations are given at left, with some of the higher short-period falls given in the Other extreme readings box. The Bruce Highway was cut both north and south of Townsville, trains were delayed by damaged track south of Ingham, and there were power outages in the area.
Above: 3-hourly IR satellite images between 11am WST today and 8am Saturday. Note the rapid cloud development as the troughs, colder upper air and jet stream entrance move over southeastern WA


An active cold front with strong upper support gave unusually heavy rain to normally dry parts of southeastern WA overnight and early this morning. Storms developed explosively along trough lines that formed ahead of the change, giving widespread falls of 20 to 70mm in the Goldfields and Eucla areas. Laverton, 250km NNE of Kalgoorlie, recorded 62mm between midnight and 6am, 46mm falling in the first two hours. Eyre, on the coast 250km west of Eucla, recorded 71mm in the storms. Although the storms lost intensity as the system moved east during the day, strong winds were reported as the front crossed the Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island, SA, late in the evening, following a day of very high temperatures in SA and western Victoria. Maximum temperatures were 8 to 17 above average across the southern half of SA and the western half of Vic. Parafield and Edinburgh Airports, in Adelaide's north, both recorded top temperatures of 41. A selection of charts is given below, and rainfall information is in the Other extreme readings box.


Charts for 8am WST today. The surface chart (above left) shows a small developing secondary low in a trough projecting north from the parent low south of the map. The situation at the 850 hectopascal pressure level (about 1.4km up -- above right) shows hot northerlies over SA, but temperatures down to 3 along the WA south coast as cold Southern Ocean air surges north. Note the grey area showing high humidity over SE WA, where colder upper air is causing massive instability. The 500hPa map (below left) also shows the strong thermal trough (green lines) and a sharp pressure trough (white lines). Meanwhile, at 200hPa (below right), an entrance to a strong jet stream is vertically aligned over the same area, with winds increasing to 220km/h over the western Bight, further increasing uplift over SE WA as air is sucked into the jet.

Highest & Lowest Temps

Maximum Minimum
43.0 Tarcoola SA
42.0 Ceduna AP SA
41.8 Kyancutta SA
29.2 Oodnadatta SA
27.0 Moomba SA
27.0 Willis Is Qld
16.9 Mt Wellington Tas 2.0 Liawenee Tas

Greatest variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
37.7 Cape Northumberland SA
40.2 Port Lincoln SA
29.2 Oodnadatta SA
22.2 Yeelirrie WA
8.0 Perth AP WA
Other extreme readings
Northern WA
Broome AP: 22mm in 1h to 3pm
SE Waterbank Broome: 35mm in 3h to 3pm
Pardoo: 37mm in 3h to 6am
Southeastern WA
Rawlinna: 20mm in 6h to 6am
Red Rocks Point Eucla: 22mm in 6h to 9am
Eyre: 71mm in 18h to 9am
Yeelirrie: 53mm in 15h to 6am
Laverton: 62mm in 6h to 6am, 46mm in 2h to 2am
Northern NT
Garden Pt: 43mm in 3h to 6pm
Channel Pt: 59mm in 6h to 9pm
Northern Qld
Low Isles: 47mm in 3h to noon, 37mm in 3h to 9pm
Cairns AP: 105mm in 15h to 3pm
Innisfail: 141mm in 18h to 9am
Ingham: 259mm in 18h to 3pm, 100mm in 3h to 9am
Cardwell: 132mm in 18h to 9am
South Johnston: 82mm in 9h to 9am
Halifax: 102mm in 12h to 6am
Townsville AP: 108mm in 12h to 9am
Lucinda Pt: 141mm in 12h to 9am
Mingela: 97mm in 12h to 9am
Ayr DPI: 95mm in 6h to 3am
Alva Beach Ayr: 72mm in 6h to 3am
Rita Island Ayr: 158mm in 12h to 6am
Proserpine: 57mm in 6h to 3am

Flood peaks:
Fitzroy at Looma WA: 8.2m at 5.30am
Tully at Euramo Qld: 7.30m at 11.59pm with minor flooding
Herbert at Gairloch Qld: 10m at 11pm with minor flooding.
Haughtoon at Giru Qld: ?? during this evening or Sat morning with moderate flooding

Records set this day
All time highest daily rainfall:
Eyre WA: 75.8mm. Previous record 71.1 in 50 years of record