When reading these descriptions of today's weather events, please refer to the charts and tables for support and details. The descriptions serve to point out significant events and add information that is not available elsewhere on the page.
NSW, VIC, SA, QLD: Cold and wet in SE AUS
A low pressure system off the NSW coast combined with a cold, unstable airmass to produce record May rainfall on the South Coast and some of the lowest May daytime temperatures in decades. The satellite images below show cloud swirling around the low onto the South Coast, where rain began soon after 9am and continued without interruption into Wednesday morning. The heaviest falls were in a triangle bounded by Batemans Bay, Braidwood and Bega, where almost all gauges recorded between 50 and 125mm, Narooma topscoring with 124mm in the 24 hours to 9am Wednesday. Batemans Bay recorded 99mm, a May record, while the southerly airstream directed into the East Gippsland mountains produced a record 50.4mm May rainfall at Combienbar, 60km ENE of Orbost.
The wet day gave Moruya Heads its lowest May maximum temperature in 50 years, the mercury reaching just 12.0. Batemans Bay also recorded its coldest May day in 17 years with a top of 12.1. Strong to gale force winds around the low added to the perceived cold; Montague Island recorded a top gust of 104km/h this evening. Away from the coastal cloud, low humidity and the cold airmass produced a widespread cold night for May, with minima 6 to 10 below average across much of NSW, eastern SA and southern QLD. Screen minimum temperature records tumbled at Hawker SA and Armidale and Narranderra NSW, while Orange and Goondiwindi QLD had record low grass minimum temperatures. In southern SA, cloud moving in following the cold night put a lid on normal daytime temperature rises. Maxima were 6 to 8 below average with several new records being set. Whyalla's top of 12.1 knocked 1.4 off the previous 21-year extreme.
WA: Suspected tornado causes damage south of Perth
A vigorous cold front swept across SW WA this morning bringing heavy showers, thunderstorms and strong wind gusts. A strong downburst or possible tornado struck Port Kennedy, 40km S of Perth, about 8am, severely damaging two houses. Witnesses described objects "flying through the air", including an airconditioning unit which was blown from the roof of one of the houses onto a nearby road. Rockingham SES received at least 14 callouts for assistance and estimated property damage running into several hundred thousand dollars. The storms caused peak hour traffic delays in Perth and blacked out 2000 properties in Shenton Park, NW of the CBD.
NSW: Drought area expands
Sixty-two percent of NSW was officially declared in drought this week, 14% up on last month, with a further 28% marginal. Newly drought-declared areas include Condobolin, Forbes, the Central Tablelands, Young, Wagga, Gundagai, Braidwood and Bombala.