NSW: Storms lead to canyon death
Clusters of storms broke out across the eastern half of NSW early this afternoon to the east of the troughline prominent in the surface charts above. They were slow-moving and notable for widespread violent lightning and thunder. Those south of the Hunter moved east to cross the coast late evening; those north of the Hunter gradually contracted northeast towards the QLD border, gradually dying out early on Sunday morning.
Heavy rain accompanied the storms in the Blue Mountains during the late afternoon, leading to flash flooding that claimed the life of an experienced canyoner in the Empress Falls gorge south of Wentworth Falls. He was crossing a pool in the canyon after having guided his less experienced companions across when what one of the party described as "a massive amount of water - a flash flood" hit the pool. He lost his footing and was swept away in the torrent. Rain and fog on Sunday caused a search to be postponed at 1pm, and the man's body was found around midday Monday only a short distance from where he had been last seen.
Lightning strikes from a two-hour storm caused a 4-hour blackout in Grafton from early in the evening, while in the Central West Country Energy reported widespread blackouts in Orange and Bathurst and surrounding places including Blayney, Carcoar, Nashdale, Forest Reefs, Raglan, O'Connell and Kelso.
TAS: Bushfire burns through conservation area
A bushfire deliberately started early this morning burnt through 1,500ha of the Waterhouse Conservation Area 70km NE of Launceston today. It burnt northeast to Ranson's Beach, where firefighters protected two shacks before preventing the spread of the fire to the south. Four other deliberately lit fires in the area hampered their efforts, but all were brought under control by evening except the northern flank fronting Bass Strait.
QLD, NT, WA: Monsoon fires up
The surface charts show that the monsoon trough has moved well south into the Australian continent. In the 24 hours to 9am, some moderate totals were recorded in the WA Kimberley and the NT Top end. Cygnet Bay in the West Kimberley recorded 58mm in 3 hours to 6am. Falls over 50mm were widespread on the QLD North Coast and Peninsula (see wettest) where a stationary tropical low at the base of Cape York Peninsula continues to enhance an easterly flow onto the coast. During the day, sporadic heavy falls extended down the QLD coast as far as Mackay, while Gove in NE NT recorded 60mm between 9am and 3pm.