Sunday 24 OCT 2004

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2004

Dec

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Heavy damage from NSW severe thunderstorms
Heatwave sets records in SE QLD

The most damaging of a number of severe storm cells that developed this afternoon are shown bearing down on Muswellbrook and Taree in this 5pm radar image. Three cells display the maximum reflectivity reported by 15-level radar (a cell that brushed south of Katoomba shortly before 3pm also showed maximum reflectivity), while the Muswellbrook cell is remarkable for the size of its solid precipitation shaft -- some 20km in diameter. Weatherzone

Heavy damage from NSW severe thunderstorms

Severe thunderstorms developed over the NSW Central Tablelands this early this afternoon, then moved ENE into the Sydney metro area, Hunter Valley and Mid North Coast causing widespread and severe damage from hail and flash flooding. The storms developed in a surface trough supported by a closed low in the lower atmosphere, cooler air aloft and a broad tongue of moisture extending down to the Central Coast from the Coral Sea.

Muswellbrook in the Hunter and Taree on the Mid North Coast fared worst, with significant damage and disruption also reported from Sydney's western and northern suburbs and the Oxley region. The SES received hundreds of calls for assistance, with repair and mopping-up operations continuing through to Tuesday and additional crews brought into Taree and Muswellbrook from surrounding areas.

The Muswellbrook storm developed to the west of Mudgee soon before 2pm and rapidly gained full strength as it moved east over largely uninhabited country in the upper Hunter. For much of its life, it showed a near-circular echo of intense rainfall about 20km across on radar, with strong echoes indicating hail shafts as well. It passed across Muswellbrook around 5.30pm, bringing 10 minutes of intense rainfall and hail. There were around 400 SES call-outs in and around the town, and damage is expected to run to about $10m. Hail was the greatest cause of damage. The SES said stones were 9 to 12cm in diameter and included jagged lumps of ice formed by the fusing together of smaller stones. The roofs of about 20 homes were damaged, and extensive damage was caused to cars, especially those in car sales yards. Early estimates are that around 30% of the grape crop in the Upper Hunter was stripped of foliage by the hail. Paterson (Tocal) recorded the highest 24 hour to 9am Monday rainfall in the Hunter with a total of 40.0mm, most of which fell in the storm and 19.0mm of which was reported in 10 minutes to 6.10pm. Wind gusted to 91km/h at Williamtown at 6.28pm.

In Taree flash flooding occurred in the CBD. Portion of the roof of Coles Supermarket collapsed when hail blocked gutters and the weight of water and hail built up, requiring the store to be evacuated. A nursing home suffered water damage after hail smashed through skylights. Around 22mm was recorded at the Airport in the storm, 14.0mm falling in just 7 minutes to 7.40pm.

Around Sydney, flash flooding caused brief traffic dislocation while strong winds and lightning strikes produced some power blackouts. About 2,000 customers in Harbord and Pymble lost power for about 90 minutes. There were other local outages on the North Shore, Blue Mountains, Emu Plains, Penrith, Greystanes, Seven Hills and Fairfield. A lightning strike put signalling equipment out of action on the Blacktown line for about 40 minutes, leading to general delays of around 10 minutes to railway services. The SES received about 30 calls for assistance, mainly for lightning strikes causing tree damage. The storm dumped 17.4mm in 6 minutes to 3.47pm in Penrith Lakes AWS raingauge for a storm total of 36mm. Details of other heavy falls are given in downpours below.

Severe storm cells are frequently associated with strong windshear aloft (i.e. the upper wind is blowing at a different direction and/or speed from surface winds, aiding the development of strong updrafts), but there appears to have been surprisingly little windshear with today's storms. Winds at 850hPa were circular around the lower atmosphere low that tracked across the Central Coast, but were of the order of 20 to 30km/h. Upper winds were relatively benign westerlies of around 60km/h, with the jet stream core situated over southern QLD. The most severe storms appear to have been associated mostly with convergence into the lower atmosphere low.

Heatwave sets records, brings bushfires and storms to QLD

Daytime temperatures were from 8 to 12 above normal across much of southern QLD and parts of northern NSW today for the third day running. Winton (42.5C), Longreach (42.4) and Cloncurry (42.0) recorded the highest maxima, but the greatest departures from normal were in a triangular area from the SE Coast west to the Maranoa and north into the Central Highlands. Clermont and Springsure, two Central Highlands towns with long computerised records (around 40 years) both set new October records with top temperatures of 40.5 and 40.0 respectively. In the same area, but with shorter periods of record, Emerald and Moranbah set a new October highs of 41.3 and 40.5.

A number of bushfires flared up in SE QLD, though no significant property damage was reported. The worst fires were to the NW of Brisbane. A large blaze at Moore closed the D'Aguilar Highway, while three fires were reported around Esk. Another fire at Kilcoy burnt through 1,000ha of bushland and required water bombing to bring under control. A fire west of Dayboro was burning in inaccessible country, while grass fires were reported at Esk, Mt Binga, Tenthill, Ropeley, Flagstone Creek, Mt Whitestone, Nanango, Gordonbrook, Rosedale, Moore, Cooyar Creek, Perry River, Widgee, Lower Wonga, Gurgeena, Dallarnil and Cinnabar.

A band of thunderstorms developed to the west of Dalby mid afternoon and moved rapidly ENE, clearing the coast mid evening. The storms exacerbated the fire problem as rain was generally light from the fast-moving cells, but squally winds gusted to 113km/h at Oakey (accompanied by a temperature drop of 12.3C in 4 minutes!) and lightning strikes created fresh spot fires. Rural Fire Service district inspector Wayne Waltisbuhl told The Courier-Mail "I believe there was a shed on fire in Esk (northwest of Brisbane) which was started by a lightning strike and as crews were heading to it lighting was causing the power lines to arc and starting grass fires along the road." Golf ball sized hail fell in Toowoomba while the gusty winds raised a duststorm at Greenmount, 25km S of the city. Severe thunderstorms with hail and strong winds were also reported from Boonah and Rathdowney. Robert Bundy from the Toowoomba SES told ABC Radio "We've had a number of houses damaged in the Cambooya shire, the Pittsworth and the Tara area, some with quite severe damage, entire roofs ripped off but generally, roughly about six to eight houses in total in the Cambooya shire, which was worst hit."

National weather extremes for today

Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology

Records set this day (previous record and years of computerised record shown in brackets):
Highest daily maximum temperature for October
Queensland:
034038 MORANBAH WATER TREATMENT PLANT 40.5 (40.3, 19)
035019 CLERMONT POST OFFICE 40.5 (40.4, 43)
035065 SPRINGSURE DAME ST 40.0 (39.7, 39)
035264 EMERALD AIRPORT 41.3 (40.0, 13)

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

42.7 FITZROY CROSSING AERO W Kimberley WA
42.5 WINTON AIRPORT Northwest QLD
42.4 LONGREACH AERO Central West QLD
42.1 BRADSHAW N Rivers NT
42.0 CLONCURRY AIRPORT Gulf Country QLD

+12.4   40.4 UNIVERSITY OF QUEENSLAND GATTON Brisbane/SE Coast QLD
+11.6   40.2 MILES POST OFFICE Darling Downs W QLD
+11.2   40.3 ROMA AIRPORT Maranoa QLD
+11.0   40.0 SURAT Maranoa QLD
+10.9   37.3 OAKEY AERO Darling Downs E QLD

28.0 NORTHERN ENDEAVOUR Islands ISL
27.4 TROUGHTON ISLAND N Kimberley WA
26.6 SWEERS ISLAND Gulf Country QLD
26.4 BRADSHAW N Rivers NT
26.3 HORN ISLAND N Peninsula QLD

+8.7   23.0 CHARLEVILLE AERO Warrego QLD
+8.6   19.0 LAKE CARGELLIGO AIRPORT Riverina W NSW
+8.2   24.5 WINDORAH POST OFFICE Channel Country QLD
+7.8   13.5 TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVE Goulburn/Monaro NSW
+7.6   14.4 DARTMOUTH RESERVOIR Lower NE VIC

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

7.4 MOUNT WELLINGTON Southeast TAS
8.0 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
8.9 MOUNT READ W Coast TAS
9.3 MOUNT GININI Goulburn/Monaro NSW
9.4 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC

-5.7   32.1 MCARTHUR RIVER MINE N Rivers NT
-4.5   19.4 CAMDEN AIRPORT AWS Illawarra NSW
-4.5   14.8 COOMA VISITORS CENTRE Goulburn/Monaro NSW
-4.1   28.4 ONSLOW AIRPORT W Pilbara WA
-4.1   14.5 TIDBINBILLA NATURE RESERVE Goulburn/Monaro NSW

-1.4 MOUNT WELLINGTON Southeast TAS
-0.9 LOOKOUT HILL Western Plains VIC
0.0 NARACOORTE AERODROME Lower SE SA
0.4 LIAWENEE Central Plateau TAS
0.6 HARTZ MOUNTAIN (KEOGHS PIMPLE) Southeast TAS
0.6 MOUNT READ W Coast TAS

-8.3   1.8 EYRE Eucla WA
-5.3   2.0 COONAWARRA Lower SE SA
-5.2   2.2 CASTERTON SHOWGROUNDS W Coast VIC
-5.0   6.1 ELLISTON W Agricultural SA
-4.6   2.2 LONGERENONG Wimmera S VIC

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.

22.0 MORUYA AIRPORT AWS South Coast NSW
21.0 MORUYA (BURRA CREEK) South Coast NSW
20.0 RIVEREN N Rivers NT
19.0 MORUYA HEADS PILOT STATION South Coast NSW
16.4 LAKE MARGARET POWER STATION W Coast TAS

  Max+/- norm Min+/- normRain to 9am
BROOME AIRPORT 31.7 -1.1 23.6 +1.3 0.0
PERTH AIRPORT 27.6 +5.2 8.4 -1.8 0.0
ALBANY AIRPORT 19.0 +0.3 8.2 -0.8 0.2
KALGOORLIE-BOULDER AIRPORT 32.6 +7.0 13.7 +2.8 0.0
DARWIN AIRPORT 34.7 +1.6 25.2 +0.2 0.0
ALICE SPRINGS AIRPORT 32.3 +1.5 16.2 +1.5 0.0
ADELAIDE (KENT TOWN) 20.1 -1.5 11.0 -0.4 0.0
MOUNT GAMBIER AERO 17.7 -0.1 2.6 -4.5 0.2
CAIRNS AERO 30.6 +1.1 20.5 -0.1 0.0
TOWNSVILLE AERO 31.4 +2.0 23.1 +2.4 0.0
ROCKHAMPTON AERO 37.6 +8.0 19.3 +2.4 0.0
AMBERLEY AMO 35.2 +7.6 16.2 +2.8 0.0
BRISBANE AERO 29.9 16.8 0.0
ARMIDALE AIRPORT AWS 26.1 9.1 0.2
COFFS HARBOUR MO 24.7 +1.2 15.3 +1.5 0.0
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS 21.0 -1.1 18.1 +4.2 0.0
SYDNEY (OBSERVATORY HILL) 20.1 -1.9 17.7 +4.2 0.0
PROSPECT DAM 16.2 +4.1 0.0
WOLLONGONG UNIVERSITY 20.8 -1.2 15.4 +2.8 2.4
CANBERRA AIRPORT 15.7 -3.5 12.5 +6.5 0.2
WAGGA WAGGA AMO 19.7 -1.5 11.6 +3.9 2.0
MILDURA AIRPORT 25.5 +1.8 12.1 +2.4 0.0
EAST SALE AIRPORT 17.6 -1.5 10.3 +2.7 0.0
MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE 18.1 -1.5 11.7 +2.3 0.0
LAVERTON RAAF 16.9 -2.1 10.2 +2.0 1.8
BALLARAT AERODROME 15.9 -0.6 4.5 -1.7 0.0
LAUNCESTON AIRPORT 17.7 +1.3 7.8 +2.2 0.6
HOBART (ELLERSLIE ROAD) 16.0 -0.9 7.6 -0.1 0.8

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.
WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    E Kimberley
KUNUNURRA AERO
6.2mm in 6 min to 16:18 62.0mm/h
16.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 5.3mm/h
    E Gascoyne
PARABURDOO AERO
9.0mm in 8 min to 17:31 67.5mm/h
13.0mm in 1 hr to 18:00 13.0mm/h
NEW SOUTH WALES
    MidNorth Coast N
KEMPSEY AIRPORT AWS
11.6mm in 1 hr to 22:00 11.6mm/h
    MidNorth Coast S
TAREE AIRPORT AWS
7.6mm in 5 min to 19:38 91.2mm/h
6.4mm in 2 min to 19:40 192.0mm/h
20.4mm in 1 hr to 20:00 20.4mm/h
22.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 7.3mm/h
    Hunter Valley
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS
9.4mm in 18 min to 18:30 31.3mm/h
12.0mm in 1 hr to 18:30 12.0mm/h
16.6mm in 1 hr to 19:00 16.6mm/h
11.6mm in 9 min to 19:09 77.3mm/h
18.4mm in 1 hr to 19:30 18.4mm/h
29.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 9.7mm/h
WILLIAMTOWN RAAF
14.4mm in 9 min to 18:28 96.0mm/h
22.8mm in 1 hr to 19:00 22.8mm/h
24.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 8.0mm/h
PATERSON (TOCAL AWS)
12.8mm in 1 hr to 18:00 12.8mm/h
16.2mm in 9 min to 18:09 108.0mm/h
2.8mm in 1 min to 18:10 168.0mm/h
26.2mm in 1 hr to 19:00 26.2mm/h
26.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 8.7mm/h
CESSNOCK AIRPORT AWS
7.6mm in 37 min to 17:37 12.3mm/h
8.0mm in 23 min to 18:00 20.9mm/h
15.6mm in 1 hr to 18:00 15.6mm/h
16.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 5.3mm/h
    C Tablelands N
NULLO MOUNTAIN AWS
17.0mm in 59 min to 17:00 17.3mm/h
26.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 8.7mm/h
MUDGEE AIRPORT AWS
4.2mm in 6 min to 15:19 42.0mm/h
18.8mm in 1 hr to 16:00 18.8mm/h
20.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 6.7mm/h
    Sydney--east
TERREY HILLS (TERREY HILLS RESERVE)
11.8mm in 1 hr to 18:00 11.8mm/h
22.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 7.3mm/h
12.6mm in 1 hr to 19:00 12.6mm/h
HOMEBUSH (OLYMPIC STADIUM) AWS
12.0mm in 1 hr to 19:00 12.0mm/h
    Sydney--west
RICHMOND RAAF
15.8mm in 30 min to 16:30 31.6mm/h
16.0mm in 1 hr to 16:30 16.0mm/h
17.6mm in 1 hr to 17:00 17.6mm/h
29.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 9.7mm/h
11.8mm in 1 hr to 18:30 11.8mm/h
PENRITH LAKES AWS
3.2mm in 2 min to 15:43 96.0mm/h
14.2mm in 4 min to 15:47 213.0mm/h
7.2mm in 11 min to 15:58 39.3mm/h
27.8mm in 1 hr to 16:30 27.8mm/h
36.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 12.0mm/h
HORSLEY PARK EQUESTRIAN CENTRE AWS
10.6mm in 1 hr to 18:30 10.6mm/h
    Goulburn/Monaro
CANBERRA AIRPORT
4.4mm in 11 min to 13:00 24.0mm/h
GOULBURN AIRPORT AWS
11.0mm in 1 hr to 15:00 11.0mm/h
16.0mm in 3 hr to 15:00 5.3mm/h

WESTERN AUSTRALIA
    E Kimberley
KUNUNURRA AERO : 117( 60/ 83 ) at 16:12
    E Gascoyne
PARABURDOO AERO : 109(260/ 56 ) at 17:31
QUEENSLAND
    Darling Downs E
OAKEY AERO : 113(290/ 87 ) at 16:16
NEW SOUTH WALES
    Hunter Valley
WILLIAMTOWN RAAF : 91(210/ 41 ) at 18:28