TAS: Gales lash the island and Bass Strait
A strong west to southwest stream continued across TAS, bringing cold, gale force winds which became squally with the passage of a cold front overnight and a trough this afternoon. Wind gusted to 107km/h in Hobart City soon after midday, with some roof damage to houses reported around the suburbs. A tree was brought down across part of the main Midland Highway south of Melton Mowbray and a cabin cruiser broke its moorings on the Derwent River off Sandy Bay. Top wind gusts were 135km/h at Maatsuyker Island and 133 atop Mt Wellington. Strong inland gusts included 113km/h at Scotts Peak Dam, 106 at Liawenee, 96 at Sheffield, 93 at Tunnack and 91 at Campania.
Gale force winds and estimated 6m swells in eastern Bass Strait caused the yacht Savcor returning from the Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race to capsize four or five times early yesterday evening. A distress signal was sent out with the yacht about 170km SE of Eden NSW. The yacht righted itself, but the Swedish crew of five, suffering from mild hypothermia, were rescued by NSW Water Police about 7.50 this morning and taken to Eden. A salvage operation was under way to locate and tow the $450,000 yacht which had been leased from Getaway Sailing Adventures. Top wind gusts in the Strait were 106km/h at Wilsons Promontory at 10 this morning and 102 at Hogan Island at 6am.
SE QLD, NE NSW: Hot before damaging storms
A weak trough triggered scattered storms across NE NSW and SE QLD during the afternoon and evening. Lack of strong upper winds meant that these were slow-moving and produced isolated heavy falls including 12mm in 10 minutes at Warwick and 11.2mm in 14 minutes at Byron Bay. Strong wind gusts with the storms caused damage and some major power outages. About 50,000 properties lost power late in the evening, mostly in southern and western Brisbane and Ipswich. About 7,000 in an arc from Brisbane through the Lockyer Valley to Gympie were still without power on Wednesday morning. Electricity supplier Energex recorded 9,000 lightning strikes in SE QLD between 11pm and midnight this evening. Houses were damaged by falling tree branches in the northern Brisbane suburgs of Murrumba Downs, Alderley and Zillmere as well as at Warwick and Toowoomba. A house at Killarney, 30km SE of Warwick, caught fire when struck by lightning. Warwick AWS recorded a peak wind gust of 93km/h at 7.16pm.
A hot day preceded the storms, particularly on the NSW coast from the Hunter north to the QLD border and inland to the Darling Downs. Tabulam, Grafton, Cessnock and Paterson were all 11 or 12 above average, with Grafton recording a top of 41.6 and Cessnock 41.3. Tabulam and Pindari Dam on the North West Slopes both came within a degree of their highest recorded temperatures in 32 years of observations. The heat extended well out to sea, Lord Howe Island reporting a maximum of 28.1, just 0.4 below its January record.
WA: Cold, wet in the south, monsoon rain in the north
Cold, wet weather retreated to the far south of the state today as a low pressure system responsible for dragging tropical moisture southwards continued its slow southerly movement through central WA. Overnight minima were still well below average in the area of the low. Heavy rain fell overnight in parts of the Goldfields, with Salmon Gums recording 62.0mm between 9pm and 6 this morning for a 24 hour to 9am total of 75.8. More common totals in the Goldfields were between 20 and 35mm, though many locations receive little or no rain. Salmon Gums also reported another very cold day with a top temperature of 18.6, 11.9 below average. Many locations in the Central Wheat Belt also experienced a cold day with temperatures around 10 below normal and barely reaching 20C.
Rain areas and scattered storms along the monsoon trough visible in the surface charts below continue to deliver significant if patchy rain to the WA Kimberley, particularly in the northwest. Kuri Bay, 220km NNE of Derby, has received the highest 24 hour rainfall totals in the nation for each of the past 3 days, its 91.0mm total this morning bringing its 3-day total to 303.4mm. The week to 9am rainfall map shows that much of the Kimberley has recorded 100 to 150mm in the past 7 days, and also shows well the 50 to 200mm rainfall band extending through eastern WA into SW SA.