|Above: National rainfall for
the week ended 9am today shows the heaviest, most widespread rain in WA
since late February 2001.
|Minimum (above) and maximum (below) temperature
departures from normal today. BoM
records most widespread rain in 3 years
While Tropical Cyclone Ken only barely achieved cyclone status,
it gave WA the state's most widespread heavy rain since late February 2001. Virtually
every part of WA recorded rain in the week to 9am today, a rare feat as the
systems that produce rain in the north are seldom active at the same time as
those that produce rain in the south. Highest totals for the week were in the
Kimberley where Kuri Bay topscored with 248.3 followed by Doongan on 190.4.
Significant falls elsewhere included Cardabia 80, Gascoyne Junction 67.5 and
Yaringa Station 62 in the West Gascoyne; Munarra 68.2 in the East Gascoyne;
Mt Barker 58.4 on the South Coast; Desert Fringe 67 and Wattle Dale 66.8 in
the Central Wheat Belt; Koolyanobbing 64.4 and Southern Cross 58.2 in the Goldfields;
and Balgo Hills 95.4 in the NE Interior. Most of the heavy rain away
from the Kimberley fell from thunderstorms, with several areas, notably the
Pilbara, Central West and Perth Metro areas, receiving little or nothing.
The storms continued in the 24 hours to 9am today, giving some torrential
downpours in the Gascoyne and NE Interior. Balgo Hills recorded 75.4, Dairy
Creek 51.6 and Dalgety Downs 50.0. The ABC reported that Murchison Downs in
the West Gascoyne recorded 72mm in a storm around 2am. The storm gave Meekatharra
Airport 23mm and a wind gust of 95km/h.
bag of weather in eastern state as cold airmass replaces hot
The most significant airmass change in over a month continued to
move through SE Australia today producing a wild mixture of weather events. The
temperature differences across the cold front were extreme, Gosford's maximum
of 41.2 (13.8 above normal) for example contrasting with 24.0 (-7.4) at
Wagga 400km away. A strong jet stream accompanied the sharp temperature
gradient which, together with a trough preceding the cold front, brought
rain and thunderstorms, some severe. In TAS, VIC and southern NSW and SA
the day was unusually cold and windy, with many locations reporting wind
gusts to storm force.
Heat: The hottest places relative to normal were on the
NSW coast from Sydney north. Gosford's 41.2, at 13.8 above normal, was the
greatest variation, while Grafton recorded 43.7 (+13.7) and Riverview in
Sydney 39.1 (+12.7). Windorah and Quilpie QLD, and Grafton, Walgett and Collarenebri
NSW all recorded tops of over 44. Minimum temperatures this morning were
again 8 to 12 above average in a band through northern NSW and southern
QLD into Central Australia, with 33.6 at Cunnamulla QLD the highest, and
31.0 (+12.3) at Gunnedah NSW the greatest departure from normal.
The prolonged heatwave in southern QLD has seen record electricity consumption
as air conditioners are turned up to full blast. Powerlink's usage peaked
at 7,400 megawatts mid-afternoon yesterday, 270 megawatts up on the previous
record. That record was broken today, with a peak consumption of 7689 megawatts
at 3.30pm. The Queensland Ambulance Service attended 22 cases of heat stress
in Brisbane during the day. In western QLD, the heat has taken a toll on
stock, pastures and kangaroo joeys.
intense heat was causing a huge reduction in feed intake by stock,
as well as lowering
the quality of pasture. Many kangaroos have been observed abandonning their
joeys. Queensland Parks and Wildlife officer Steven Gear told AAP female
kangaroos left their young to fend for themselves when food and water became
Cold: The large blue area in the lowest map shows
the area that recorded maximum temperatures 8 to 12 below average. An area
around the SA/VIC border failed to make 20°, with Casterton reaching
a top of only 17.7 (-9.4) and Keith 19.5 (-10.3).
Severe thunderstorms: The strong temperature gradient and
resultant jet stream caused ideal conditions for the development of severe
thunderstorms which produced little rain but a lot of wind and lightning.
The SES responded to 165 calls to assist with wind damage in the Hunter and
Mid North Coast.
In the Hunter Valley, a violent storm swept ESE down the valley
between 3 and 5pm, unroofing several houses. Worst hit was the Mount
Pleasant area, 20km north of Singleton. The historic Roselands Uniting
Church was destroyed, the public school library lost its roof and
framing while a house in the settlement lost its roof and several
others suffered roof damage. The wind was sufficiently strong to
blow in two rollerdoors of a Besser block garage, then blow out
the side walls. Trees believed to be at least 200 years old were
blown down by the wind. The Hunter SES received 70 calls for assistance,
58 from the Singleton and Muswellbrook areas. Wind gusted to 117km/h
at Scone Airport and 122km/h at the Tocal Ag College south of Paterson.
Three people were struck by lightning -- at Williamtown, Hawks Nest
and Muswellbrook -- but survived. 12,000 homes were left without
power for up to an hour after the storm. 12,000 homes between Maitland
and Nelson Bay were blacked out.
Farther north, late afternoon storms rampaged through an area bounded
by Manilla, Armidale and Inverell. Two homes at Manilla were unroofed, and
5 seriously damaged. A house at Bingara was unroofed. At Kings Gap, northeast
of Bundarra, wind ripped the roofs off a house, shearing shed
the one property. On Clerks Creek Road, between Bundarra and Glen Innes,
a recently built machinery shed was destroyed at Outer Clerkness and a Toyota
Landcruiser parked in a paddock rolled over by the wind. Widespread tree
damage was reported around Bundarra. In Armidale, the Council works depot
had its roof peeled back and CBD businesses had to
lost. On the Mid North Coast, evening storms caused extensive damage to numerous
homes and buildings in the Nambucca area, with 19 SES callouts and up to
a dozen badly damaged properties. Powerlines and many trees were brought
down in Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Telegraph Point, Roland Plains and Nambucca
Heads, and there were widespread blackouts lasting up to 5 hours. A Country
Energy spokeswoman said that up to 10,000 properties were thought to have
lost power, with some still not restored the next day. Little rain was recorded
in most of the storms, with a report of an impressive dust cloud preceding
the storm at Attunga, 20km NW of Tamworth. However, Kings Plains,
25km WNW of Glen Innes, recorded 48mm for the 24 hours to 9am Thursday.
in NSW, TAS
In NSW, 300 firefighters continued to contain a fire in the
Goonoo State Forest NE of Dubbo which has burnt through 1,800ha.
In TAS, the Fortescue Bay fire on the Tasman Peninsula
continued to burn out of control in difficult country. 80 campers were evacuated
from a camping area on the bay, 3km from the fire front.
News sources: ABC, Sunshine Coast Daily, AAP, Border Mail (Albury),
Daily Telegraph, Singleton Argus, Inverell Times, Northern Daily Leader