WA: Record cold night across the South West
High pressure brought settled conditions to SW WA overnight, but the legacy of cold air from yesterday's deep southerlies resulted in several record low minima and many near misses.
The most remarkable was the minimum of 3.8 recorded at Cape Naturaliste. This is the lowest temperature ever recorded in the coastal station's 49 years of computerised records, beating the previous low of 4.0C recorded on 28 August 1968; the previous lowest September minimum was 4.4. The reading seems to be correct, with the observer reporting a temperature of 4.1C at the 3am observation.
Other new September records were -0.8 at Katanning, also with 49 years of observations, and 0.0 at Ravensthorpe in 43 years of obs. Nine other stations came within a degree of their September records: Wongan Hills with 0.6, Goomalling 0.0, Medina 1.0, Dwellingup -1.0, Cunderdin -0.3, Merredin -1.5, Northam -1.0, Brookton -1.5 and Wagin -1.0. The coldest places in the state were Southern Cross -3.2, Wandering -2.5 and York -2.0. Most of these readings were about 8C below the September average.
AUS: Heat and storms continue in the east
The cold front attached to the pair of lows beneath SA visible on the surface chart above moved steadily east today, pushing an unusually hot airmass for September into eastern states and generating a continuing belt of thunderstorms to its east.
Lightning tracker data shows storms covering much of VIC and southern NSW at midnight, and extending NW to the SE NT. This area contracted and moved slowly east until midday when a line of storms was present from Flinders Island to SW QLD, but storms intensified through eastern VIC, central NSW and southern central QLD during the afternoon and evening. There were many reports of heavy downpours from QLD, NSW, VIC and TAS (see downpours), and Clunes, 30km NNW of Ballarat, recorded 43.4mm in the 24 hours to 9am this morning, just 3.6 below its highest September one-day total in the last 120 years. Crewsick, 15km SE of Clunes, received 20mm from a storm that packed golfball-sized hail that damaged cars and caused water damage in shops. Kangaroo Flat, just south of Bendigo, had 10 to 15 minutes of hail that left drifts 30cm deep. Fierce electrical storms closed down ski lifts at Mt Hotham and Falls Creek during the day because of the threat of skiers being hit by lightning. A spectacular electfical storm also passed across Melbourne during the early hours this morning but no reports of damage or disruption.
A lightning strike from a storm around 10.30pm at Murrumbateman, 15km SE of Yass, caused an unusual house fire. Rural Bush Fire Service Southern Tablelands Operations Manager Ian Kennerley told the Yass Tribune "It appears that the lightning strike has spread through the dwelling through the power lines in the walls and roof of the house. Two rooms of the house were extensively damaged and the fire was very hard to fully extinguish as it was mainly in the roof of the house. Fire-fighters had to remove the lining and insulation in the roof to completely extinguish the blaze."
The rainfall map for the week ended 9am Sunday shows that a large part of TAS, eastern VIC and eastern NSW has benefited from the storms with totals of 15 to over 50mm. The heaviest weekly totals were around the NSW and VIC Alps, on the NSW SW Slopes and in northern TAS and included:
123.4 Harrietville flood gauge VIC
118.8 Harrietville VIC
114.0 Perisher Valley NSW
99.6 Thredbo Village NSW
81.6 Tumut NSW
74.0 Tumbarumba NSW
70.4 Culcairn NSW
65.6 Diddleum TAS
65.2 Whitlands VIC
65.0 Adelong NSW
59.0 Mole Creek TAS
59.0 Ringarooma TAS
58.6 Edi Upper VIC
Minimum temperatures were 8 to 12 above normal across a huge area of the eastern states. Maximum temperatures were more subdued due to cloud cover and storms, but still managed to reach 8 to 10 above average around Sydney and in eastern VIC.
NSW, VIC: Strong winds in the lower atmosphere: Despite the many thunderstorms sparking today, there have been few reports of strong winds or wind gusts. High altitude stations, however, have revealed the strength of northerly winds in the lower atmosphere ahead of the surface front. Thredbo Top Station AWS recorded a top gust of 122km/h about 6am and another of 119km/h at 8.20pm, while Mt Hotham recorded a gust of 117km/h at 8am. More impressive were Thredbo's total wind runs of 1719km for the 24 hours to 9 this morning (average speed 71.6) followed by 1469km to 9am Sunday (61.2km/h). Mt Hotham AWS is not currently reporting its daily wind runs, putting the Thredbo figures a long way ahead of the nearest contenders (see windiest for today and Sunday).
WA, NT: Cold day despite clear skies: The cold southern airmass that flooded into SW WA yesterday moved east into the WA Interior today, extending as far as southwestern NT. Despite clear skies, most of the scattered weather stations in this sparsely populated area recorded maximum temperatures around 8 to 11C below average for September. Carnegie, 570km NNE of Kalgoorlie reported a top temperature of only 17.9, 10.5 below normal.
Ext Prs Not War Rdr Cht Rfl Rec