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Torrential rain brings flooding to Far North QLD
Rainfall totals of 200 to 300mm in the 24 hours to 09.00 Monday morning on top of several hundred millimetres in the previous two days have pushed rivers into moderate flooding in Far North Queensland. Bolinda Estate, SW of Innisfail in the Tully River catchment, recorded 378mm in the day ended 09.00 Monday which comes on top of 98mm on Sunday, and a further 161mm had fallen in the 12 hours to 21.00 Monday evening. Similar falls have been recorded at various times over the past 3 days in both the Tully catchment and the adjacent Johnson River catchment to the north, just west of Innisfail. As of Monday evening, the there are moderate flood warnings out for the Tully, and minor warnings out for the Johnson, and also the large Herbert River to the south, which flows through Ingham.
A slow moving monsoon trough lying offshore is the main culprit, and a low within it that has been shifting around relative to the FNQ coast since last Wednesday has moved prolonged deluges to different parts of the coast at different times. Early last week, the same system delivered flooding rain to the area S and SW of Bowen, and the Isaac and Connors Rivers in that area, which flow to sea in the Fitzroy at Rockhampton, are still in moderate flood. The flooding in the Sarina area washed away 20 sections of the main railway line, varying in length from 5 to 500 metres according to ABC News.
While rain like this would come as a shock to those used to more temperate climes, North Queenslanders and their river systems take it in their stride. Even so, several rainfall stations in the Innisfail area have set remarkable one-day records yesterday and today. The flood warning alert raingauges at Marco Street and Tung Oil, both about 10km W of Innisfail, set new January records to 09.00 EST Sunday with 224 and 222mm. And on Monday, they showed off and broke both those with 301 and 351mm. They each have a 14-year history, and that gives them 48 hour totals of 525 and 573mm. Tung Oil Alert's 351mm was also its heaviest one-day total on record for any month.
Big Freeze creates havoc in Europe
At the other extreme to the heatwave gripping SE Australia at present, Europe's big freeze has led to 55 deaths in Poland alone, caused problems with transportation, and stopped shipping on the Danube due to ice (of which a neat video on the above link). Over 500 cyclists took an 8km group ride along the frozen Moscow River.
Farther south, Sjenica in southern Serbia saw a temperature range of -15.4 to -27.1 on Sunday and -12.6 to -22.5 on Monday while heavy falling snow and galeforce winds in southern Serbia have seen snowdrifts piling up as high as three metres. Coastal Thessaloniki in Greece has seen the thermometer as low as -8.4° on Sunday, and several Greek islands are blanketed in snow. Heavy snow has crippled Istanbul, and shipping through the Bosphorus Strait, one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, has been stopped by a mixture of cold, gales and low visibility.
The Guardian captures the character of a major city under snow with this photo (enlarge it full screen) and Al Jazeera captures the atmosphere across Europe with this gallery. Also from Al Jazeera, a good description of the reasons behind the weather and their consequences.
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