QLD, NSW, VIC: Useful rain inland, showers along the coast
Light to moderate patchy rain fell in western NSW and through central and northern VIC, yielding gaugings mostly between 5 and 25mm for the 24 hours to 9am, though Hillston Airport managed 32.0mm. There were some moderate falls and isolated thunderstorms from a slow-moving cloudmass ahead of a trough system that produced the rain: Condobolin Airport registered 16mm between 6 and 9am and Yarrawonga the same amount between 9am and noon. Rain cleared as the trough moved off the east coast late this evening and early Saturday. A line of thunderstorms that fired up as the trough moved off the NSW South and Illawarra Coasts provided a spectacular light show. Total falls from this event show up on the weekly rainfall map for Saturday which shows widespread rain through QLD, NSW and VIC, but with the best falls of 15 to 50mm in a 200km-wide band from Mackay QLD through western and southern NSW to northern VIC. Though hardly drought-breaking, it provided these areas with their best rain since mid-January.
The rain was perhaps most welcome in the NSW Riverina and NE VIC where many locations reported about 30mm which came just in time to rescue crops planted in autumn. Rand NSW farmer Terry Mardling told the Border Mail "In a lot of cases this will just give our crops a start and where they have already germinated the rain has come just in the nick of time. The frosts have dried the ground out so this rain has been very important." Slippery road conditions in the rain are believed to have been responsible for a car sliding off a road at Bulla, 25km NW of Melbourne, killing its driver.
Showers, some heavy, continued along the NSW coast and in far SE QLD. Heaviest downpours today were on the QLD Gold Coast and NSW North Coast. Coolangatta Airport reported 30mm between 6 and 9am with a further 40mm falling to 9pm, while Gold Coast Seaway had 34mm between 3 and 6pm. South of the border, Evans Head recorded 46mm between midnight and 6am.
NSW, ACT, SA: Fog disrupts transport. Light rain from the trough (see previous story) fell across Sydney on Thursday evening and was followed by light winds and a clearing sky. The clearance was short-lived, however, as fog formed rapidly in Sydney's west and southwest, then drifted east into coastal suburbs around daybreak. At Sydney Airport, visibility dropped from 2km at 6am to 300m at 9am, intermittently closing the airport. Incoming and outgoing flights were delayed until the fog slowly lifted around 10am. Thirteen international flights were diverted to Brisbane, the additional traffic causing delays in that city as well. Visibility was even more restricted on Sydney Harbour, where ferry services were cancelled for several hours. Fog following the rain of the past few days was also widespread in eastern NSW and parts of SA. Both Qantas and Virgin airlines reported delays due to fog in Canberra and Adelaide, in addition to the major problem in Sydney.
WA: Broome shivers. Broome recorded an abnormally low minimum temperature this morning of 6.9C, 8.4 below average. Cool, very dry southern air has penetrated well into the tropics, as the minimum temperature anomaly map below shows.