Heat and rainfall records tumble across the south
See this special report on
the causes of today's extreme weather.
Heavy rain brings flooding to South Coast
Heavy rain fell overnight and today in the lower Wheatbelt and Great Southern
bringing flooding to southern coastal streams while cold, gale force
winds caused widespread
damage. Several days of cold, wet and windy weather caused the loss of 100,000
or more sheep.
Falls of 25 to over 100mm were recorded to 9 this morning at most stations
SW of a line from Bremer Bay to Perth (see ). The
heaviest falls were
in the southern parts of the Central Wheat Belt, especially to the south of
where Broomehill scored
142.0mm and Cranham 106.0. New records for April daily
rainfall were set along the coast by four stations with fairly long records:
Albany Airport 78.6mm
(42 years), Mettler 103.0 (37), Esperance 66.0 (36) and well to the east Salmon
Gums 51.0 (67).
During the day the rain contracted to an area about 100km around Albany, but
intensified (see ).
Most of the rain
for the 24 hours to 9am Saturday (see )
fell before midnight, with Albany Airport recording its highest ever one-day
total of 104.8mm. The Albany Town gauge recorded 80.6mm, its highest April
in 98 years. Other heavy totals were 125.8 at Kendenup to the NW of Mt Barker,
and 111.4 at Mt Barker itself. The midnight to midnight total for Albany Airport
was 165mm. The Airport's monthly average for April is 56.4. The heaviest 48-hour
total was 194.4 at Mettler. A breakdown of the heavier
downpours is below.
Cold, gale force winds added to the discomfort and damage. While daytime temperatures
were a little above yesterday's record-shattering figures, much of the South
West, Central West and Wheatbelt recorded maxima 6 to 11 below average. Gosnells
City in Perth's southeast only reached 15.5, 11.1 below. Most of the South
Coast failed to reach the mid teens, with Pemberton recording a top of only
12.0. Offshore from Perth, the wind gusted to 104km/h on Rottnest Island and
91km/h at Garden Island and Ocean Reef. Elsewhere, 91km/h was reached at
at Albany Airport. Rottnest Island's wind run for the 48 hours to 9am Saturday
an average of 56.1km/h (gale force begins at 63km/h).
Stock losses were the main product of the bad weather. Sheep
stayed wet in cold, windy conditions from Wednesday evening until late today
and early estimates are that as many as 100,000, mostly sheep less than a year
old and breeding ewes recently sheared, may have been lost. This was despite
tremendous efforts by communities to ease the plight
service clubs assisted in rescuing live sheep and the heartbreaking task of
burying tens of thousands dead -- a busy bee at Kojonup buried 17,000. Individual
farm losses of 200 to 300 were common in the worst-hit areas around Darkan,
The highest loss on one property was around 5,000. One
Arthur River farmer lost over 2,200 weaners and young ewes, his future breeding
stock. Another lost 1000 sheep, lambs and hoggets two weeks off shears.
Homes were flooded and roads were closed, damaged and blocked by downed trees
and branches. Near Broomehill, which recorded the national highest rainfall
of 142.0mm to
9 this morning,
flood floated a bus off the Great Southern Highway. The town itself experienced
flooding and extensive damage, while at Tambellup, 20km to the south, homes
were evacuated and flooded after the Gordon River broke its banks. Flash flooding
blocked roads and entered houses in Esperance, one house to a depth
of a metre,
fell to 9
34.2mm was recorded in the town between
6 and 8am and 21.4mm in the hour to 2.30pm at the airport. The area is not
prone to heavy rain, so drainage systems were unable to cope. The SES base
was also flooded while personnel were out sandbagging, pumping out flooded
homes and setting up roadblocks. Albany SES received over 150 calls to deal
with roof damage and flooded properties. Property damage was also reported
from Narrogin, Katanning and Denmark.
winds and fallen trees and branches caused blackouts in both metropolitan
On the positive side, the widespread rain has boosted pastures and given an
early start to the cropping season across the state's main productive areas.
was being carted on Wednesday, dams are overflowing today.
AUS: Record April
heat across large area
Dozens of April heat records fell in WA, NT, SA, NSW and TAS today as a remarkably
broad hot airmass engulfed the central two-thirds of the continent and extended
SE to TAS. The temperature anomaly maps above show the greatest departures
from normal were
in on the
Eyre Peninsula and along the west coast of SA where both minima and maxima
would have been considered hot for mid-summer.
Overnight, Kyancutta's low of
24.5 was 15.1 above normal while today
Nullarbor topscored with 42.0, an incredible 17.2 above normal.
with 64 years of observational history, received the rare distinction of
breaking both its highest maximum
and minimum temperature
on the one day, and both by considerable margins. The airport's minimum of
25.5 was 0.6 above the previous record, and the maximum of 40.4 was 0.8 above.
Elliston, 200km SE of Ceduna, added 2.1° to its previous record with a
top of 38.3, remarkable for a station with a 43-year history.
In TAS and the NT, stations with significant histories also saw records comprehensively
rewritten. On the TAS East Coast, Orford, with 37 years' record, added 2.0° to
its April extreme with a top of 30.0 and Swansea (49 years) added 0.8 for a
top of 30.1. Hobart Airport (47 years) recorded 30.7 compared to the previous
high of 30.1, though the Hobart City site, with its longer 118-year history,
fell 0.9 short of its April 1941 record. In the NT, Alice Springs (64 years)
0.5 to its old record with a reading of 39.1, and Curtin Springs (40 years)
and Jervois (37 years) both added about a degree to their old records.
Details of all known records are below.