NT, SA, NSW, VIC, TAS: Continuing warm as storms develop
As the temperature anomaly maps at right show, well above average temperatures covered much of central southern Australia today. Strong northwesterlies ahead of the front visible on the surface chart above drew both tropical heat and moisture into southern states, sparking thunderstorms across the southern NT, eastern SA, western NSW and western VIC overnight, though rain from these storms was mostly light. Both minimum and maximum temperatures were up to 11 above average. Daly Waters in the NT came within 1C of its highest September maximum temperature recorded over the past 36 years for the second day in a row.
Storms redeveloped explosively late this afternoon in western VIC and SW NSW, and were pushed by strong mid-level winds across the whole of VIC, southern NSW and northern TAS overnight into Friday. Scattered storms were also revived by the trough shown on the 10pm surface chart in southern NT and eastern SA. While radar indicated some very heavy rain with the storms in VIC, their speed of movement resulted in widespread totals of less than 10mm in the 24 hours to 9am Friday. The highest recordings were in NE VIC where Whitfield recorded 20.6mm.
There were isolated reports of very stong winds with the storms. Melbourne Airport recorded a gust of 91km/h mid afternoon, but an unusual situation was experienced by the AWS on top of Mt Gellibrand, 20km ENE of Colac VIC. The station reported wind gusts above 80km/h from 8.30 to 10.25pm, but the following observations indicated an unusually prolonged period of storm force northerly winds around 9pm:
8.42pm: 10 minute average 98km/h; gusts to 113km/h
9.00pm: 10 minute average 100.1km/h; gusts to 124km/h
9.12pm: 10 minute average 87.1km/h; gusts to 104km/h
Radar at the time shows an area of storm cells moving ESE across central VIC and Bass Strait into northern TAS at about 70km/h.
Some 450 properties around Skipton, 40km W of Ballarat, lost power for between 2 and 6 hours from 8.20pm when a tree was blown onto powerlines. Another 165 at Lookout Hill, 65km NW of Ballarat, lost power for 4 hours when lightning hit powerlines.