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Friday 21 April 2000

Ex-TC Rosita brings record rains to WA and NT deserts
Flooding continues in NT and Qld
Storms on NSW South Coast
Snow in Tasmania
Former tropical cyclone Rosita still retains its spiral structure in this infrared satellite image captured at 3.32WST yesterday, several hours after it was downgraded to a tropical low. Moisture streams eastwards on strong middle-level westerlies, bringing further rain across Central Australia.
Rainfall for the 24 hours to 9am today (above), and maximum temperature variation from normal (below)

Former tropical cyclone Rosita moved across the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia overnight and lost identity in the Tanami Desert of western NT early this afternoon. Moisture drawn south and east by the former cyclone, however, continues to dominate the weather, with record rainfall in the Great Sandy Desert and in a belt across southern NT.

The WA mining community of Balgo Hills, 650km ESE of Broome, recorded 112.4mm as the ex-cyclone approached, all falling in 18 hours to 9 this morning. In a record stretching back to 1940, the settlement's highest daily rainfall total is 117.0, and highest April daily rainfall total was 52.0mm.

Meanwhile, in southern NT, Alice Springs Airport's April one-day rainfall record was broken for the second time in 3 days when 86mm fell in the 24 hours to 9am. A further 45mm fell between 9am and 6pm, and the normally dry Todd River running through the town's centre rose to a peak of 3.2m forcing the evacuation of 200 people from their homes. All causeways across the Todd and Charles Rivers will be closed for some days, effectively cutting the town in two. The Stuart Highway south of the Alice is cut at the Finke and Palmer rivers, while north of the town it is open only to trucks and 4WD vehicles. The Plenty Highway, and most if not all back roads in the area, are impassable, stranding hundreds of tourists, with 200 stuck at Erldunda at the junction of the Stuart Highway and the road to Uluru.

In southwest Queensland, the Bulloo River continues in moderate flood in the Thargomindah area following heavy rain last week around Quilpie, cutting the main road into the town with 1.2m of water over the bridge.

Thunderstorms with areas of large hail were reported late afternoon and early evening on the NSW South Coast from Jervis Bay to south of Ulladulla ahead of a weak cold front. 2cm diameter hail was reported south of Ulladulla in sufficient quantity to lie for 2 or more hours after the storm. For a detailed description see Michael Thompson's report.

Snow fell overnight on the Tasmanian Central Plateau and highland areas. 1cm of snow was lying on the ground at Liawenee, on the western shore of the Great Lake, at 9am, and snow was visible on peaks west from Hobart. The automatic weather station atop Mt Read, east of Zeehan on the West Coast, reported 18mm precipitation between 9am and 6pm with a top temperature below 2, so it is likely that some heavy snowfalls occurred above about 1100m on exposed western mountains.

Today's highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am

112.4 Balgo Hills WA
87.2 Alice Springs East-Side NT
86.0 Alice Springs AP NT
82.8 Undoolya Station NT

Other heavy falls in southern NT:
71.1 Wallace Rock Hole
68.2 Gemtree Park
68.0 Mereenie
66.8 The Garden Station
52.5 Watarrka (Kings Canyon)
51.0 Mt Riddock
50.0 Jervois
49.0 Yuendumu
49.0 Atula Station
48.0 Newhaven
41.0 Vaughan Springs Mt Doreen
40.0 Connellan AP Yulara

Today's highest & lowest temps

Other extremes

Rainfall:
Balgo Hills WA: 112mm in 18h to 9am
Yuendumu NT: 44mm in 9h to noon
Alice Springs AP NT: 24mm in 6h to 3am and 45mm in 9h to 6pm.
Jervois NT: 84mm in 12h to 9pm

Records set this day

Daily rainfall:
Balgo Hills WA: 112.4mm is highest April fall in 55 years of record
Alice Springs AP NT: 86.0mm is highest April fall in 59 years of record
Jervois NT: 50.0mm is highest April fall in 36 years of record

Maximum Minimum
35.2 Mango Farm Daly River NT 27.4 Centre Is NT
1.0 Mt Baw Baw Vic -2.5 Mt Wellington Tas

Greatest variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
+6.2
27.0 Pemberton WA
+4.9
21.9 Hughenden PO Qld
-17.3
13.0 Jervois NT
-15.3
15.9 Boulia PO Qld
-15.2
13.7 Curtin Springs NT
-6.5
5.6 Parafield AP SA

  • 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. Satellite image courtesy CIMSS