temperature variations, storms in southern WA
Significantly colder air moved into southern WA today, accompanied by a broad
area of thunderstorms. The change moved through Perth around 9am preceded by
a night of thunder and lightning which only produced brief heavy rain just
ahead of the front. Perth Airport recorded 18mm to 9am, 14mm of it between
6 and 9am. Rottnest Island had 18.4mm in just 30 minutes to 7.30am.
of storms moved leisurely eastwards during the day, producing little more
than a few millimetres across most of the southern half of the state. However,
heating and the addition of more moisture dragged down from the north produced
some heavy falls mid-evening across the Goldfields. The Kalgoorlie-Boulder
Airport recorded 39mm in the 3 hours to midnight for a 24 hour to 9am Monday
total of 45.6, the station's fourth-highest February total on record. Yeelirrie
station, about 400km NNW of Kalgoorlie reported 53mm in the 48 hours
most or all is likely to have fallen during a thunderstorm late today. This
is nearly twice the stations average monthy rainfall for February.
Earlier in the day, there had been some heavy falls in the Pilbara, with Yarrie
150km east of Port Hedland reporting 51mm to 9am.
The colder airmass behind the front coupled with the timing of its passage
produced dramatic temperature contrasts across the south of the state. Esperance
today had the most above-normal maximum in the country, with its 39.6° coming
in at 13.4 above average. Five hundred kilometres to the west, Karnet recorded
the most below-normal maximum at 20.5, 10.1 below.
Ex-TC Beni brings
rain, gales to NE NSW, SE QLD
Former Tropical Cyclone Beni continued to drift between NW and WNW towards
the central Queensland coast today. Maintaining a central pressure of around
1000hPa, it was located about 600km ENE of Rockhampton late this evening. The
Low, in partnership with a 1030 High off the southeast of the continent, continues
to produce a strong pressure gradient along the NSW and S QLD coast, building
up a heavy swell and bringing gales to coastal parts. Cape Moreton Lighthouse
recorded a gust of 102km/h about 8 this evening.
Good rain fell overnight along the NSW North Coast and hinterland, with the
area around Nimbin doing best. Nimbin recorded 55mm to 9am and Doon Doon, 13km
NE, recording 65mm.
The Victorian Alpine fires continue to burn strongly even after 3
days of milder, moister weather. Mountain drizzle has been a mixed blessing,
with conditions in many areas too damp to
allow fire crews to carry out backburns.
The main focus of activity today has been on the southern and southeastern
flanks of the huge fire complex. Overnight reconnaisance showed that
the fire had jumped the Snowy River between McKillops Bridge and the
NSW border, and was burning strongly southeastwards towards the Tubbut/Bonang
area. A major containment line
is being constructed between Victoria and NSW in an effort to limit
the SE spread of this fire.
Farther southwest, fires around Bindi and Tongio, south of Omeo, are
causing concern. Reports have been received of substantial damage to
houses and other buildings in the Wulgulmerang/Seldom Seen area north
of Buchan as a result of intense fire activity late Friday afternoon.
The fire complex has now burnt through just under 700,000 hectares of
Victorian parks and forests. Figures released by the Victorian Department
of Sustainability and Environment today showed that 675 fires have occurred
across Victoria so far this fire season, burning 939,290ha. The 20-year
average for this time of year is 357 fires, having burnt over 49,000