Australian Weather News


Wednesday, 21 MAR 2001

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Rainfall records fall in WA, NT, SA
Very cold day in Central Australia and SA
Rogue low brings further good rain to SE Australia
Rainfall records fell in the nation's northwest and southeast today, while thick cloud cover and cold SW winds produced record low daytime temperatures. The root cause has been an unusual late-season buildup of moisture over the WA Kimberley and nearby Indian Ocean. Cloud streaming southeast from this area has now twice interacted with active secondary depressions passing north of Tasmania, bringing moderate and occasionally torrential rain to more than a million square kilometres of the country.

In the WA Kimberley, a monsoon-trough low that has been hovering offshore from Broome since Sunday gave Derby Airport 101mm in the 3 hours to midnight this morning, and a 24-hour to 9am total of 152mm. This is 30mm higher than the station's previous March record.

Water vapour satellite image for 2am WST/5am EDST today. The large area of yellow/orange is a storm/rain complex covering the southern Kimberley and Tanami Desert of the Northern Territory. Tropical moisture streams towards SE Australia, where a major cloudband is about to give the NSW Northern Tablelands heavy rain ahead of a clearly marked troughline. Separate bands of vapour wrap around the low which has just crossed the SA coast near Mt Gambier. NPMOC 

An area of storms and heavy rain developed yesterday afternoon in a trough extending ESE into the Northern Territory from this low. Winds converging from the N and NE into this trough also helped provide the lift needed to produce deep convection. The cloud mass can be seen on the water vapour satellite image (right) where the yellow and orange colours show high concentrations of moisture extending across northeastern WA into the Territory. At Rabbit Flat, a truck stop on the Tanami Road from Alice Springs to Wyndham WA, 171mm fell solidly over the 12 hour period to 9 this morning for a 24-hour total of 183mm, breaking the station's previous all-time one-day record of 139.7mm set on 2 February 1973. Unfortunately, the new automatic weather station at Flat Rabbit, as it is sometimes known, was not reporting, but the manual gauge readings gave 137mm over 9 hours to 6am and a further 34mm to 9am. Nearby Tanami Mine recorded 124.2mm for the 24 hour period.

In the southeast of the country, a repeat performance of last weekend's scenario was taking place. A secondary low developed on a cold front SW of Adelaide yesterday morning and moved ENE to cross the South Australian coast near Mount Gambier around 5 this morning, dropping the pressure at Mt Gambier Airport to 991.3hPa. Torrential rain (for this part of Australia -- the Airport's highest March one-day rainfall in 60 years has been 62.2mm) preceded the low, with 55mm recorded at the Airport to 9am, 33mm of that falling between 2.30 and 5.30am. To the north, Coonawarra with 50mm had its heaviest day's rain in an admittedly short 15 year record.


Click to enlarge

Maximum temperature variation from normal today. BoM

It could have been a winter's day in Adelaide, and across much of Central Australia. The city recorded its coldest March day since 1946, and its second coldest since records began in 1839, with the temperature only getting to 15.5 during the day, but rising to 15.8 in the early hours of Thursday morning. With the wind at the airport gusting to 78km/h and showers heavy enough during the morning to cause local flooding, it felt colder. In the Northern Territory, Curtin Springs Homestead had the distinction of recording the Territory's coldest ever March day, with the thermometer only rising to 14.4. Alice Springs Airport also broke the old record of 15.2 with a top of only 15.0.

Infrared satellite images (JCU) and surface charts (BoM) at 6 hourly intervals from 11am 20 March to 5am 22 March EDST. 

While Whilst last weekend's low passed through Bass Strait close to the Tasmanian coast, today's low moved inland through western Victoria and southern NSW, giving general falls of 20 to 30mm, often in a 3 to 6 hour period. Late today it had weakened and broken into a complex of small lows in northern and southern NSW, Bass Strait and east of Flinders Island. This shifted the cloud mass, which can be seen wrapping around the southern side of the low in the satellite image (right), southeast toward Tasmania. Late this afternoon, the cloud interacted with the developing low east of Flinders Island to drop 73mm in the 6 hours to 9pm at St Helens Airport on Tasmania's east coast. Meanwhile, another part of the cloudmass (shown ahead of a very marked clearing line in the satellite image) separated and moved ENE across the NSW Northern Tablelands and Slopes, giving 9am to 3pm totals of 53mm at Woolbrook, 34 at Inverell, 31 at Glen Innes Airport, and 30 at Tamworth Airport and Barraba.

This evening, thunderstorms gave falls of 50 to over 100mm along the Queensland coast from the NSW border to Rockhampton. The area of storms can be seen developing ahead of the same troughline that produced the heavy falls in NSW, but was a separate development. Brisbane City again received a downpour, with 74mm falling in an hour and a half to 9pm and Mt Mee, 50km NW of the city, recorded 112.6mm to 9am Thursday, most or all of which would have fallen in the storm. Flash flooding, some entering businesses, again occurred in parts of Brisbane badly flooded in the 9 March storm, while strong winds brought down power lines, blacking out Kallangur, Murarrie, Jimboomba, upper Caboolture, Red Hill and Paddington.

National weather extremes for today
Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology
Last updated at 17:42 EDST on 22/03/01

Quality control note: Data is complete, and has been visually checked by AWN for gross errors. Less obvious errors may remain. See Explanation of Extremes Pages for more information
Records set this day (previous record and years of computerised record shown in brackets):
Highest 24-hour rainfall for any month:
Rabbit Flat NT: 183 (139.7,31)
Coonawarra SA: 50.0 (47.8, 15)
Highest 24-hour rainfall for March:

Derby AP WA: 152.0 (121.6, 37)
Coldest March day on record in Northern Territory:
Maxima of 14.4 at Curtin Springs and 15.0 at Alice Springs AP, breaking the previous NT March record of 15.2.

Todays highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am. It includes the top 5 totals received, and/or all reported falls of 50mm or more.

183.0 RABBIT FLAT Alice Springs NT
152.0 DERBY AERO W Kimberley WA
124.2 TANAMI MINE Victoria NT
98.0 CURTIN AERO W Kimberley WA
93.0 SHELAMAR W Kimberley WA

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    E Kimberley
50.0 BILLILUNA
    W Kimberley
152.0 DERBY AERO
98.0 CURTIN AERO
93.0 SHELAMAR
    Interior
58.0 BALGO HILLS

NORTHERN TERRITORY
    Victoria
124.2 TANAMI MINE
    Barkly
61.4 WARRAMUNGA
    Alice Springs
183.0 RABBIT FLAT

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    Lower SE
58.0 MOUNT GAMBIER COUNCIL DEPOT
55.0 MOUNT GAMBIER AERO
52.0 NANGWARRY DPI DEPOT
50.0 COONAWARRA

QUEENSLAND
    Brisbane/SE Coast
51.4 LAKE COOROIBAH(PINES AV)

High rainfall for periods of 6 hours or less.


WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    W Kimberley
BROOME AIRPORT
11.0mm in 9 min to 19:39 73.3mm/h
13.8mm in 9 min to 19:48 92.0mm/h
8.0mm in 12 min to 20:00 40.0mm/h
37.4mm in 1 hr to 20:00 37.4mm/h
33.0mm in 1 hr to 20:30 33.0mm/h
38.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 12.7mm/h
DERBY AERO
23.6mm in 1 hr to 00:00 23.6mm/h
101.0mm in 3 hr to 00:00 33.7mm/h
114.0mm in 6 hr to 03:00 19.0mm/h
CURTIN AERO
42.0mm in 3 hr to 00:00 14.0mm/h

NORTHERN TERRITORY
    Darwin-Daly
BATCHELOR AERO
33.6mm in 37 min to 17:30 54.5mm/h
33.6mm in 1 hr to 17:30 33.6mm/h
41.0mm in 3 hr to 17:30 13.7mm/h
    Alice Springs
RABBIT FLAT
137.0mm in 9 hr to 05:30 15.2mm/h

QUEENSLAND
    Brisbane/SE Coast
AMBERLEY AMO
27.2mm in 1 hr 45 min to 19:26 15.5mm/h
ARCHERFIELD AIRPORT
18.4mm in 30 min to 19:30 36.8mm/h
24.4mm in 1 hr to 20:00 24.4mm/h
36.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 12.0mm/h
COOLANGATTA AIRPORT
4.6mm in 6 min to 21:06 46.0mm/h
26.8mm in 24 min to 21:30 67.0mm/h
37.2mm in 1 hr to 21:30 37.2mm/h
17.2mm in 30 min to 22:00 34.4mm/h
48.6mm in 1 hr to 22:00 48.6mm/h
BRISBANE AERO
10.6mm in 16 min to 21:30 39.8mm/h
BRISBANE
29.6mm in 30 min to 20:00 59.2mm/h
32.2mm in 1 hr to 20:00 32.2mm/h
29.8mm in 30 min to 20:30 59.6mm/h
59.4mm in 1 hr to 20:30 59.4mm/h
14.6mm in 30 min to 21:00 29.2mm/h
44.4mm in 1 hr to 21:00 44.4mm/h
77.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 25.7mm/h
77.0mm in 6 hr to 21:00 12.8mm/h

NEW SOUTH WALES
    N Tablelands W
GLEN INNES AIRPORT AWS
30.0mm in 3 hr to 15:00 10.0mm/h
    C Tablelands N
NULLO MOUNTAIN AWS
4.8mm in 7 min to 21:07 41.1mm/h

VICTORIA
    W Central
SHEOAKS
7.0mm in 15 min to 16:45 28.0mm/h

TASMANIA
    E Coast
ST HELENS AERODROME
37.8mm in 2 hr to 18:00 18.9mm/h
51.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 17.0mm/h
73.0mm in 6 hr to 21:00 12.2mm/h

Todays highest & lowest temperatures

Maximum Minimum
38.0 HUGHENDEN AIRPORT Upper Carpentaria QLD
37.9 JULIA CREEK POST OFFICE Gulf Country QLD
37.2 CLONCURRY AIRPORT Gulf Country QLD
37.2 WINTON POST OFFICE Northwest QLD
37.0 LONGREACH AERO Central West QLD
28.0 THEVENARD ISLAND W Pilbara WA
27.5 ALYANGULA POLICE Arnhem NT
27.4 MORNINGTON ISLAND Gulf Country QLD
27.0 LEARMONTH AIRPORT W Pilbara WA
27.0 ONSLOW AIRPORT W Pilbara WA
27.0 MCCLUER ISLAND Darwin-Daly NT
27.0 COCONUT ISLAND N Peninsula QLD
27.0 NORTHERN ENDEAVOUR Islands
8.0 MT BAW BAW W Gippsland VIC
8.3 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
9.0 THREDBO (CRACKENBACK STATION) AWS Snowy Mtns NSW
9.8 MOUNT LOFTY Mt Lofty Ranges SA
9.9 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC
0.3 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
1.2 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC
2.9 WINDY HARBOUR SW & S Coast WA
3.0 BRIDGETOWN SW & S Coast WA
3.4 WONGAN HILLS RES.STATION Central West WA

Todays greatest temperature variations from normal

Maximum Minimum
+5.9   27.8 POINT HICKS (LIGHTHOUSE) E Gippsland VIC
+4.7   35.1 DENHAM W Gascoyne WA
+4.6   36.0 CARNARVON AIRPORT W Gascoyne WA
+4.6   36.5 CLERMONT POST OFFICE Central Highlands QLD
+4.6   35.0 ROCKHAMPTON AERO Wide Bay/Burnett QLD
+7.4   23.7 INJUNE POST OFFICE Maranoa QLD
+7.0   23.7 MITCHELL POST OFFICE Maranoa QLD
+6.8   19.0 BUNDOORA (LATROBE UNIVERSITY) E Central VIC
+6.7   12.6 LAKE LEAKE (ELIZABETH RIVER) E Coast TAS
+6.3   21.8 TEXAS POST OFFICE Darling Downs E QLD
-19.4   14.4 CURTIN SPRINGS Alice Springs NT
-17.6   15.0 ALICE SPRINGS AIRPORT Alice Springs NT
-15.7   16.5 KULGERA Alice Springs NT
-14.9   19.0 GILES METEOROLOGICAL OFFICE Interior WA
-14.5   20.0 JERVOIS Alice Springs NT
-12.6   3.4 WONGAN HILLS RES.STATION Central West WA
-10.8   2.9 WINDY HARBOUR SW & S Coast WA
-9.1   5.4 NORSEMAN Goldfields WA
-8.7   4.0 SALMON GUMS RES.STN. Goldfields WA
-7.9   12.0 WARBURTON AIRFIELD Interior WA

Highest wind gusts above 89km/h or mean wind above 62km/h (gale force). Wind direction and mean windspeed shown in brackets.

NORTH RANKIN PLATFORM E Pilbara WA : *** (130/ 63 ) at 03:00
NEPTUNE ISLAND W Agricultural SA : 93 (210/ 78 ) at 01:10
CAPE WILLOUGHBY Kangaroo Is SA : 89 (220/ 70 ) at 11:34
ADELAIDE AIRPORT Adelaide Plains SA : 78 (250/ 63 ) at 05:14
CAPE JAFFA (CURLEY HILLS) Lower SE SA : 89 (260/ 69 ) at 07:46
MOUNT BULLER Upper NE VIC: 91 (360/ 61 ) at 10:30
MT HOTHAM AIRPORT Upper NE VIC: 109 (310/ 19 ) at 22:30
MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC: 106 (360/ 80 ) at 08:38
WILSONS PROMONTORY LIGHTHOUSE W Gippsland VIC: 95 (300/ 76 ) at 10:17

Other extremes

Flood peak:
Darling at Wilcannia NSW:
9.45m with minor flooding