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Tropical Cyclone Blanche skirts Darwin, heads for Kimberley
Tropical Cyclone Blanche reached Category 1 cyclone strength and was named this morning when it was under Bathurst Island in the Tiwi Group, about 100km N of Darwin. At 18.30CST it was 150km W of Darwin, moving SW at 12km/h, with sustained winds (10-minute average) near the centre of 65km/h and gusts to 95km/h near the centre. See warnings and track maps for more details. If you're not familiar with the track maps, there a good short BoM video explaining them. For those in WA, the BoM is using its Twitter account with the hashtag #CycloneBlanche for updates.
The Darwin Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre notes based on data at 15.30CST say that Blanche is expected to continue to move SW, intensifying to Category 2 before making landfall on the Kimberley coast late on Monday afternoon. The notes add that a faster intensification rate cannot be ruled out. Very heavy rain is likely on the Kimberley coast and inland, with totals of 80 to 200mm, possibly as high as 300mm, expected.
Extremely intense rainfall battered the western end of Bathurst Island as the developing low passed nearby overnight. Point Fawcett, on the northern end of the low-lying Cape Fourcroy, recorded 384.0mm to 09.00CST, nearly 120mm higher than the previous highest daily rainfall since the station began in 1995. What's more, it all fell in the 17½ hours since 15.30CST yesterday. Darwin Airport recorded 55mm in squally showers in the day ended 09.00CST, and has had a further 31mm up to 22.00CST. While winds there were strong and gusty at times, the city missed out on any cyclonic action and no damage was reported.
Heavy rain and thunderstorms torment parts of NSW, QLD
A slow-moving low off the South Coast of NSW has brought heavy rain from Sydney to the VIC border over the past few days, and concentrated its rainfall progressively southwards along the coast from Friday. Meanwhile, isolated thunderstorms have been giving some impressive totals east of a trough running from the low to NW NSW.
The heavy rain on the South Coast began on Friday and by 09.00 Saturday a number of places in the coastal ranges had racked up totals over 100mm. The highest of these were in the Moruya River catchment, with 134mm at Plumwood, SW of Moruya, the highest.
Slow-moving areas of rain and thunderstorms on Saturday afternoon provided some spectacular dumps of rain on the NSW Mid North Coast and Central and North West Slopes and Plains where Narrabri registered 78.4mm in one storm, most falling in one hour and 21.6mm falling in the 10 minutes to 12.10. West of Port Macquarie, a storm gave Kindee Bridge 110mm in the 24 hours to 09.00 this morning. Several new records were set.
In SE QLD, over a dozen places saw over 50mm from storms, with Upper Clumber near Cunningham Gap reporting 172mm, 157mm of which fell in a two hour period to 21.00 on Friday evening.
Today, the South Coast low has begun moving away from the coast and the stormy trough has contracted to NE NSW with rain totals generally much less than yesterday. In the Moruya area, rain for the day ended 09.00EDT only totalled 25 to 38mm easing fears the Moruya River would flood. Heavier rain fell in the Bega catchment, however, the 24-hour totals averaged around 50mm with the highest around 110mm. Rain on the Illawarra and South Coasts since 09.00 has been negligible.