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More storms and rain in SA as eastern states feel the heat
Following last Thursday's damaging storms in Adelaide and SA, a line of thunderstorms and heavy rain are again moving across the state today while southeastern states fry ahead of a change.
The heavy rain moved in from the NW ahead of a front this morning, dropping 51mm on Cummins on southern Eyre Peninsula, five times its monthly average rain. 20.6mm, twice the monthly average, was dumped on the town in just 30 minutes to 10.30, after which rain continued steadily until mid-afternoon. The rain moved into the Adelaide area, giving Edithburgh 21.2mm on the Yorke Peninsula and Noarlunga 18.8 in Adelaide's south before moving into southeast SA late afternoon.
Ahead of the change, temperatures have heated up again for eastern states with top temperatures today of 42.5° at Moomba in SA, 44.3° for Hay in NSW and 42.1° at Yarrawonga in VIC. Temperatures were above 40° in all northeastern SA, western NSW and northern VIC. Tomorrow is expected to be the hot one in central and northern NSW, with Sydney seeing tops of 38° on the coast and 41° inland while Canberra has a milder 35°.
Soaked start to the wet season brings floods but happy pastoralists
The start of this year's wet season has brought well above average rains since around 20 December to the WA Kimberley, causing extensive flooding but promising pastoralists a rewarding 2017.
Falls in most parts of the large Kimberley area have been extremely heavy, giving some locations close to their average annual rainfall during the past month. Owen Finger from Debesa Station, west of Fitzroy Crossing, told ABC Rural "The average rainfall here is about 28 inches (711mm) and we've already had about 26 inches (660mm) since the start of December, so 2017 should be all good."
An active monsoon trough in which embedded lows have enhanced rainfall over the region have brought consistent rain for a month as well as occasional heavy totals of between 100 and 225mm in a day. These have hugely swollen streams, frustrating police with the stupidity of drivers who attempt to cross them. Two carloads of people had to be rescued in two consecutive days last week when they tried to drive across lengthy floodways and were swept off.
So far in January, several locations have had around double their averages for the whole of the month including Diggers Rest, just S of Wyndham, which has had 346.7mm (monthly average 138.9mm), Wyndham 374.8 (184.9), Carlton Hill, 40km NW of Kununurra, 506.2 (205.3), Halls Creek 388.6 (150.7), Kununurra 401.8 (198.6), Ruby Plains, 40km S of Halls Creek, 414.2 (123.7), and Camballin, 100km SE of Derby, 351.6 (160.3).
The rain has also pushed well inland. Telfer, 400km S of Broome, has recorded 346.4mm so far in January (average is 49.2), helped along by a torrential downpour on Wednesday evening, 18 January, that produced 127.8mm in 4.5 hours between 19.30 and midnight. Much farther inland, Warburton has had 143.6 (average 28.5), Giles 81.2 (30.1) and Carnegie 175.0 (30.1).
Slip, slop, slap! But for pineapples?
While humans heading for the beach are used to the slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen and slap on a hat routine, having pineapples reach for the 30+ seems a bit confronting.
The continuing heatwaves on the Sunshine Coast in SE QLD have the potential to stunt the growth of pineapples, which shut down above about 32° reducing yield and profit. Grower Murray Pike told ABC Rural "The fruit out there that's getting close to harvest gets sunburnt badly. We have had a big natural flowering this year so we could potentially lose quite a bit of money, it just depends when the fruit is ready."
A crushed limestone solution is applied to the fruit destined for the cannery, while a polymer solution that doesn't change the colour of the pineapple is used for the fresh fruit market. Unfortunately, hot nights, when sunshine isn't a factor, can also stunt the fruit's growth and polymers don't work above the mid to high 30s either.