Sunday 18 JUL 2004

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2004

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Gales, high seas batter E NSW as snow eases
Coldest VIC day a qualified record


Heavy seas ran on the NSW Central, Hunter and Mid North Coasts today as the East Coast Low developed offshore. Waves recorded by the Manly Hydraulics Laboratory's buoy off Bondi averaged 5 to 6 metres throughout the day, peaking at over 10m early this afternoon.

Gales, high seas batter E NSW as snow eases

Gale force winds battered the NSW coast from the Illawarra to as far north as Kempsey today bringing destruction, disruption and heavy winter seas. Early estimates put the cost of wind damage at around $3m. The winds and seas developed between a slowly deepening low of around 1005hPa east of Sydney and a strong high of more than 1040hPa SW of Adelaide. The highest recorded wind gusts were 108km/h on Sydney Harbour and 106km/h at Kiama. Snow also continued to fall in parts of the state, most notably on the Barrington Tops (see story for 17 July).

Around Sydney, the SES fielded about 500 calls today, mostly for roof and tree damage. At least two homes lost their roofs. In Cronulla, the tin roof of one home was blown over three other houses before landing intact in a neighbouring family's backyard, causing little other damage and not even awakening the family. "They were asleep until the rain woke them up," an SES spokesman said. "Our people were trying to find the house matching the roof." At Clovelly, another airborne roof crashed into an apartment block, smashing windows and injuring a resident.

Debris, trees and branches blocked roads at Oxford Falls and Chatswood in the city's north. There were over 75 reports of downed powerlines in the east of the city, most notably around Kensington, Lilyfield and Seaforth, however only about 200 homes lost power. Wind damage to a building in George Street in the CBD dislodged glass and cables, requiring police to close off and evacuate the area. Two balconies 18 storeys up a Bondi Junction apartment were dislodged, closing Hollywood Avenue for two hours before they were secured. Anzac Parade Randwick was blocked by an uprooted giant fig tree. Fallen trees and branches closed Botany Bay National Park South.

Heavy seas built up overnight along the coast from Sydney to north of Newcastle. The waverider buoy off Bondi recorded 5 to 6m swells throughout today, with peak waves from 9 to over 10m during the afternoon and evening. The rough seas caused cancellation of all Manly and Cronulla ferry services today and through Monday.

Elsewhere along the coast the SES recorded around 200 callouts for wind damage and blocked roads. In the Shoalhaven, most damage was around Callala and Sanctuary Point. Five thousand homes on the Southern Highlands and 4,000 in the Illawarra were blacked out when powerlines were torn down by the wind or falling trees. Several hundred were not reconnected until Monday. On the Central Coast, the most unusual of many calls to make trees safe was to a damaged gum tree at North Avoca, where about 30 distraught bush turkeys that lived in the tree were reluctant to leave.

A narrow band of continuing heavy rain on the coast northeast of Newcastle exacerbated the problems of gales and heavy seas between Nelson Bay and Forster, with Pacific Palms, 15km S of Forster, recording 102mm today and through Monday. Nelson Head recorded 166.6mm for the complete rain event (4 days to 9am Wednesday) of which 73.2 fell in the 24 hours to 9 this morning and a further 30.6 to 9am Monday morning. This is the most exposed part of the NSW coast to southerly winds, as it trends from SW to NE, and the SES were kept busy with trees brought down or threatening houses, and wind-driven water entering houses. A tree had to be lifted by crane from a house at Green Point.

Farther north, tree, roof and property damage was reported from Camden Haven, Port Macquarie, westwards along the Oxley Highway and around Kempsey.

Coldest VIC day a qualified record

The maximum temperature of -6.6 today on the summit of Mt Hotham has set a new record for lowest maximum temperature in Victoria. Official maximum temperatures in Australia are recorded for the day from 9am to 9am, meaning that the temperature at Mt Hotham did not exceed -6.6 between 9 this morning and 9 o'clock Monday morning. Such a long period of low temperature underlines the severity of the cold outbreak reported yesterday, but comes with some qualifications.

Blair Trewin, a climatologist with the National Climate Centre of the Bureau of Meteorology, explains: "The previous record was -6.2, also at Mount Hotham, on 5 September 1995. It is only since the early 1990s that there have been consistent observations on the Victorian peaks (there was a manual site at Mount Hotham before that, but its reporting was often erratic to say the least), so the record isn't quite as spectacular as it sounds, but still suggests that we've had a noteworthy event."

National weather extremes for today

Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology

Records set this day
Lowest daily maximum temperature for any month for Victoria
The maximum temperature of -6.6 at Mt Hotham summit today was the lowest maximum temperature ever recorded in Victoria. The previous record was -6.2, also set at Mount Hotham, on 5 September 1995.

Quality control note: Data is complete, and has been visually checked by AWN for gross errors. Less obvious errors may remain.
Data is as received at 00:57EST, 28/10/2004.

Weather observations for today
Noteworthy  Weather         Capital  Cities         Regional  Cities       Alpine  Stations
Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Bulletins and Weather Notes

Hottest
Highest maximum temperature>Greatest variation above normal maximum Highest minimum temperatureGreatest variation above normal minimum

30.6 KOWANYAMA AIRPORT Gulf Country QLD
30.5 KURI BAY N Kimberley WA
30.3 WEIPA AERO N Peninsula QLD
30.1 MIDDLE POINT AWS N Rivers NT
30.0 OENPELLI N Rivers NT

+3.6   19.8 SCONE SCS Hunter Valley NSW
+2.8   24.2 KALBARRI Central West WA
+1.9   20.5 MULLEWA Central West WA
+1.5   21.9 REDLANDS HRS Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
+1.4   19.5 MORAWA Central West WA
+1.4   17.1 BRIDGETOWN COMPARISON Lower West WA
+1.4   15.7 MANJIMUP Lower West WA

27.0 NORTHERN ENDEAVOUR Islands ISL
23.7 COCOS ISLAND AIRPORT Islands ISL
23.3 COCONUT ISLAND N Peninsula QLD
23.2 CHRISTMAS ISLAND AERO Islands ISL
22.6 TROUGHTON ISLAND N Kimberley WA

+5.1   19.2 KALUMBURU MISSION N Kimberley WA
+3.8   16.0 PORT HEDLAND AIRPORT E Pilbara WA
+3.8   7.4 YEELIRRIE Goldfields WA
+3.6   16.2 MANDORA E Pilbara WA
+3.4   16.9 ROEBOURNE E Pilbara WA

Coldest
Lowest maximum temperatureGreatest variation below normal maximum Lowest minimum temperatureGreatest variation below normal minimum

-6.6 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
-6.0 THREDBO AWS Snowy Mtns NSW
-6.0 MOUNT BULLER Upper NE VIC
-5.8 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC
-4.1 MOUNT GININI Goulburn/Monaro NSW

-8.1   13.1 TAMBO POST OFFICE Central Highlands QLD
-7.8   3.6 COOMA VISITORS CENTRE Goulburn/Monaro NSW
-7.6   14.3 WATARRKA N Plateau NT
-7.6   15.0 BARCALDINE POST OFFICE Central West QLD
-7.6   -6.0 MOUNT BULLER Upper NE VIC

-9.5 CHARLOTTE PASS (KOSCIUSKO CHALET) Snowy Mtns NSW
-9.0 THREDBO AWS Snowy Mtns NSW
-8.8 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
-8.2 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC
-8.0 PERISHER VALLEY SKI CENTRE Snowy Mtns NSW
-8.0 MOUNT BULLER Upper NE VIC

-7.5   -1.4 EYRE Eucla WA
-7.1   -1.4 CEDUNA AMO W Agricultural SA
-6.6   -1.9 PEAK HILL POST OFFICE CW Plains S NSW
-6.4   -0.9 KEITH Mallee/Upper SE SA
-6.4   -2.9 WYNYARD AIRPORT N Coast TAS

Wettest Major City Extremes
Todays highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am. It includes the top 5 totals nationally followed by all reported falls of 50mm or more.

61.0 GOONGERAH E Gippsland VIC
55.2 JAMBEROO (THE RIDGE) Illawarra NSW
52.4 WEERAGUA (CANN RIVER (EAST BRANCH) @ CHA E Gippsland VIC
51.4 COMBIENBAR E Gippsland VIC
47.0 BOMBALA (WOODBURN) Goulburn/Monaro NSW

NEW SOUTH WALES
    Illawarra
55.2 JAMBEROO (THE RIDGE)
    Goulburn/Monaro
47.0 BOMBALA (WOODBURN)

VICTORIA
    E Gippsland
61.0 GOONGERAH
52.4 WEERAGUA (CANN RIVER (EAST BRANCH) @ CHA
51.4 COMBIENBAR

  Max+/- norm Min+/- normRain to 9am
BROOME AIRPORT 28.2 -0.6 13.4 -0.2 0.0
PERTH AIRPORT 18.2 +0.4 7.3 -0.8 0.0
ALBANY AIRPORT 13.9 -1.9 5.5 -2.0 0.0
KALGOORLIE-BOULDER AIRPORT 15.1 -1.6 7.0 +2.1 0.0
DARWIN AIRPORT 29.4 -1.1 17.7 -1.6 0.0
ALICE SPRINGS AIRPORT 12.8 -6.8 2.0 -2.0 0.0
ADELAIDE (KENT TOWN) 13.5 -1.8 4.5 -2.9 0.0
MOUNT GAMBIER AERO 12.0 -1.1 4.8 -0.3 2.6
CAIRNS AERO 26.3 +0.6 12.0 -5.0 0.0
TOWNSVILLE AERO 25.1 +0.1 11.2 -2.3 0.0
ROCKHAMPTON AERO 19.3 -3.8 9.9 +0.5 0.0
AMBERLEY AMO 18.6 -2.5 5.5 +0.1 0.0
BRISBANE AERO 18.4 7.9 0.4
ARMIDALE AIRPORT AWS 5.0 -0.4 0.8
COFFS HARBOUR MO 17.1 -1.6 2.3 -5.2 0.0
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS 12.6 -4.1 6.9 -1.5 8.6
SYDNEY (OBSERVATORY HILL) 12.7 -3.5 5.9 -2.1 4.8
PROSPECT DAM 13.4 -3.3 5.9 -0.2 1.0
WOLLONGONG UNIVERSITY 12.6 -4.4 4.9 -3.5 27.7
CANBERRA AIRPORT 8.1 -3.2 -0.5 -0.3 3.4
WAGGA WAGGA AMO 11.5 -1.1 -1.0 -3.7 1.4
MILDURA AIRPORT 12.5 -2.8 0.3 -4.0 0.0
EAST SALE AIRPORT 10.8 -2.9 0.2 -3.0 2.6
MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE 13.1 -0.3 6.4 +0.5 0.8
LAVERTON RAAF 11.8 -1.8 4.2 -0.7 0.0
BALLARAT AERODROME 7.2 -2.8 2.2 -1.0 1.6
LAUNCESTON AIRPORT 7.8 -3.1 -2.1 -4.4 0.2
HOBART (ELLERSLIE ROAD) 8.5 -3.1 3.3 -1.2 1.6

Downpours Gales & Gusts
High rainfall for periods of 6 hours or less. Highest wind gusts above 89km/h (storm force) or mean wind above 62km/h (gale force). Wind direction and mean windspeed shown in brackets.
NEW SOUTH WALES
    MidNorth Coast S
FORSTER BEACH CARAVAN PARK
40.0mm in 6 hr to 15:00 6.7mm/h
TAREE AIRPORT AWS
15.0mm in 3 hr to 12:00 5.0mm/h
    Illawarra
NOWRA RAN AIR STATION AWS
21.0mm in 3 hr to 00:00 7.0mm/h
JERVIS BAY (PT PERPENDICULAR AWS)
17.0mm in 3 hr to 00:00 5.7mm/h
BELLAMBI AWS
17.0mm in 3 hr to 03:00 5.7mm/h

NEW SOUTH WALES
    Hunter Valley
NORAH HEAD AWS : 87(200/ 69 ) at 08:53
    Sydney--east
SYDNEY AIRPORT AMO : 95(210/ 67 ) at 08:30
KURNELL AWS : 100(210/ 61 ) at 09:07
LITTLE BAY (THE COAST GOLF CLUB) : 100(210/ 54 ) at 03:43
SYDNEY HARBOUR (WEDDING CAKE WEST) : 108(220/ 74 ) at 07:30
    Illawarra
BELLAMBI AWS : 96(210/ 61 ) at 06:00
KIAMA (BOMBO HEADLAND) : 106(340/ 67 ) at 01:06
    South Coast
MONTAGUE ISLAND LIGHTHOUSE : 102(150/ 85 ) at 00:00
GREEN CAPE AWS : 87(200/ 63 ) at 00:01
ULLADULLA AWS : 85(190/ 76 ) at 11:45
VICTORIA
    Upper NE
FALLS CREEK : 83(170/ 63 ) at 03:00