WA: Cold change brings tornados, storms and heavy rain
A prefrontal trough ahead of a strong cold change brought two tornados to the small coastal settlement of Leeman, 240km north of Perth this morning. Heavy showers accompanied the trough and front as they crossed southern WA, and continued in the vigorous southwesterly stream that followed.
Two tornados, initially classed at F2 strength, hit Leeman, the first causing little damage but the second ripping a path of destruction down the town's main street at about 9.30am. At least 8 house roofs were blown off or significantly damaged, while the 15m diameter funnel threw a shed hundreds of metres across Indian Ocean Drive into powerlines, blacking out the town and nearby areas. Car ports were mangled, garage doors blown in, windows broken and fences blown down. Trees and branches were hurled 50 to 100m into the air.
Heavy showers and strong winds made it an uncomfortable day in the South West and as far north as Geraldton which was blacked out by a thunderstorm during the morning. Top wind gusts recorded were 106km/h on Rottnest Island and 91 at Cape Naturaliste. Two fishermen that set out from Esperance this morning were reported missing in heavy seas this afternoon; one was rescued from an island during Wednesday but the other had not been found.
Rainfall from the system was generally 20 to 50mm in the South West, and the focus of heavy rain moved north during the morning. Heaviest 24-hour rainfalls were Ravenscliffe, 50km ESE of Busselton, with 44mm to 9am today and Karnet with 52.5mm to 9am Wednesday. Perth Metro AWS recorded 29.4mm between 11am and 1pm; other downpours are listed below. Strong river rises and some local flooding occurred in southwestern streams, with catchments soaked from recent rain.
NT: Cold night in the northwest: Cold nights continued in the Victoria River district of the NT with an overnight low of 3.3 recorded at Victoria River Downs, 10.3 below average and only 0.6 above the station's 39-year August record.
TAS: Windy in the south: Despite a 1030hPa high sitting over southern NSW, exposed parts of southern Tasmania continued to experience gale to storm force winds. Maatsuyker Island's top gust today was 117km/h closely follwed by Mt Wellington summit with 113. The average windspeed on Maatsuyker for the 24 hours to 9am was 74.8km/h.