Australian Weather News

Go to the main news page Find a place on a map

Tuesday 08 August 2000

Tornadoes accompany violent winter thunderstorms in SA, Vic and NSW
A line of unusually strong thunderstorms for winter moved across southeastern states today. Brief bursts of heavy rain and small hail were widespread, but the main damage was caused by strong winds in downbursts with the storms, and two reported tornadoes.

In Victoria, a likely F1 strength tornado cut a swathe 9km long through Sunbury and southeast toward Essendon, damaging 15 homes, tearing the roof and a wall off the Boardman Stadium Sports Complex in Sunbury, uprooting trees, downing power lines, damaging a power substation, and blacking out around 3000 premises and Essendon Airport. Heavy rain followed the tornado, which struck just before 6pm, adding to the damage bill in unroofed homes and causing flash flooding. 14mm was recorded in the Melbourne City gauge, most falling in about 20 minutes. Earlier, the storms blacked out 4000 premises at Woodend and Lancefield while banked up hail made roads treacherous near Heathcote, Elmore and Goornong as the storm cells moved southeast from the Ballarat/Daylesford area. In Melbourne, the early evening storm provided an impressive electrical display, with a block of flats in South Yarra damaged by lightning.

Earlier in the day, the cold front that spawned Victoria's storms stomped ashore in South Australia. A waterspout came ashore just before 8am at Robe, a fishing town 250km SSE of Adelaide, flipping a dry-docked crayfishing boat on its side causing about $100,000 worth of damage. Small buildings were damaged, and a 1.5 tonne gas cylinder set leaking by flying debris forced the evacuation of 12 people from Robe Hotel and nearby houses. The Bureau of Meteorology estimated the tornado at F1 strength, with winds around 100km/h. 23mm of rain fell at Robe in the storm, while heavy rain from storms in Adelaide produced a spate of car accidents.

The storms combined with more general falls in a strong, moist northwesterly airstream to produce heavy rain in NE Victoria and around the NSW Snowy Mountains in the 48 hours to 9am Wednesday. The Chalet at Mt Buffalo recorded 95.4mm over the 2 days, leading to minor flooding in the King River late on Wednesday. More details are given in the rainfall boxes below and for 9 August 2000.

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

58.0 Mt Buffalo Chalet Vic
56.0 Topaz Malanda Qld
55.0 Innisfail Qld
44.5 Babinda Qld

Other heavy falls in NE Victoria:

38.4 Whitlands
35.2 Harrietville
31.0 Edi Upper

High falls for other periods:

South Australia:
Robe PO:
23mm in 6h to 3pm

55mm in 18h to 9am

New South Wales:
20mm in town and 22mm at the airport in 6h to 9pm
Thredbo Crackenback:
53mm in 18h to 6pm falling as snow

Melbourne City:
14mm in 3h to 9pm

Today's highest & lowest temps

Other extremes

Wind gusts:
Thredbo Crackenback NSW:
87km/h at 12.10pm
Falls Ck Vic: 93km/h at 5.00am and 9.30pm
Mt Wellington summit Tas: 94km/h at 7.01pm

Records set this day


Maximum Minimum
34.0 Kimberley Res Stn Kununurra WA
34.0 Gumbalunya Oenpelli NT
34.0 Jabiru AP NT
34.0 Victoria River Downs NT
24.0 Coconut Is Qld
1.0 Crackenback NSW -3.0 Mt Walton East WA
-3.0 Perisher Valley NSW

Greatest variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
30.0 Birdsville Qld
12.0 Grove Res Stn Tas
22.9 Telfer AF WA
1.0 Mt Isa AP Qld