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Time site last updated: UTC:15:31
28/03/17
WST:23:31
28/03/17
CST:01:01
29/03/17
EST:01:31
29/03/17
CDT:02:01
29/03/17
EDT:02:31
29/03/17

Latest weather extremes prepared 0229 EDT, Wednesday, 29 March 2017
State-by-state daily extremes Severe and noteworthy observations today
Hottest Coldest Wettest     Full list Windiest (km/h)     Full list
NSW: 27.3 at 0200 BOURKE AIRPORT AWS
VIC: 18.2 at 0200 WALPEUP RESEARCH
TAS: 17.9 at 0200 SWAN ISLAND
SA: 27.4 at 0200 MOOMBA AIRPORT
WA: 30.0 at 0200 WYNDHAM AERO
NT: 32.4 at 0200 WALUNGURRU AIRPORT
QLD: 32.3 at 0200 WINDORAH AWS
NSW: 6.3 at 0200 PERISHER VALLEY AWS
VIC: 7.7 at 0200 DINNER PLAIN (MOUNT HOTHAM AIRPORT)
TAS: 5.8 at 0200 KUNANYI (MOUNT WELLINGTON PINNACLE)
SA: 9.1 at 0200 NURIOOTPA PIRSA
WA: 10.2 at 0200 ROCKY GULLY
NT: 24.8 at 0200 DALY WATERS AIRSTRIP
QLD: 18.3 at 0200 APPLETHORPE
Highest short duration falls:
GLADSTONE AIRPORT QLD
9.0 in 21min to 0221
Highest since 9am
BOWEN AIRPORT AWS QLD
213.8 to 0200
HAY POINT QLD
83 gusting 101/NNE at 0200
HAMILTON ISLAND AIRPORT QLD
44 gusting 81/--- at 0200
MORANBAH AIRPORT QLD
57 gusting 77/ SE at 0200
KUNANYI (MOUNT WELLINGTON PINNACLE) TAS
64 gusting 77/WNW at 0200

Weather, climate
and site news

The news on AWN is collected and written as I have time in between maintaining and developing the site and trying to lead a fairly normal life! As a one-person website, AWN does not have the resources of a fully-fledged newsroom, but there are reputable media that have systems that let you easily find current weather and climate stories if you know where to look. I've listed what I consider the best of these on AWN's Weather and Climate Media Reports page.

 

Tuesday 28 March 2017

 Category 4 Tropical Cyclone Debbie arrives in QLD

High-end Category 4 TC Debbie smashed into the QLD Central Coast close to Airlie Beach, south of Bowen, at 12.40EST today. With winds gusting to 263km/h on nearby Hamilton Island and a central pressure of 943hPa, it was a major cyclone and the strongest ever to hit this part of the QLD coast.

With cyclonic winds continuing today, emergency services have been grounded and it has been difficult to get a clear picture of the effects of the cyclone. AWN's detailed report will be posted tomorrow.

Monday 27 March 2017

 11.00EST Warnings get more serious, extend along 580km of QLD coast
Updated 27/3/2017 19.00: See second story below.
********************************************

The warning that Tropical Cyclone Debbie will come ashore at Category 4, and possibly Category 5, intensity on Tuesday morning has changed little, but some of its more serious ramifications are now being felt by all residents along the 580km-long stretch of coastline and nearby inland areas.

At 07.00EST, Debbie was 390 kilometres east of Townsville and 270 kilometres east northeast of Bowen, and was expected to cross the coast between Townsville and Proserpine around 07.00EST tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. The Warning area, meaning gales are happening or expected to begin within the next 24 hours, now extends from Cardwell in the north to St Lawrence in the south and Charters Towers in the west. It includes Ingham, Townsville, Ayr, Bowen, Proserpine and Mackay, and also Collinsville SW of Bowen and the Whitsunday Islands and Hamilton Island.

The Watch area (gales starting from tomorrow morning) extends beyond Charters Towers to Pentland in the west and Mt Coolon in the south. Because of the size and potency of the cyclone, even areas well beyond the coastal crossing point can expect damaging or destructive Category 1 to 3 intensity winds of up to 200km/h or more.

Winds potentially gusting to 300km/h are causing considerable concern to authorities, as they threaten to demolish buildings built before the stronger 1985 building codes came into existence. The QLD Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk said it is the first time a category four cyclone had hit the region. "We are concerned about a number of vulnerable people, so elderly people with a disability, who are living in those pre-1985 homes around Ayr and Home Hill," she said. "The old homes will not sustain the impact. We are asking neighbours to check on friends and relatives."

"You're going to see people without power for some time, large trees down, roofs damaged," meteorologist Adam Blazak told ABC News. "You want to be inside. You're going to see large flying debris. Obviously caravans don't usually stand a chance. You usually see them completely destroyed."

ABC News also reports there is growing concern about a storm surge which could be as high as two to four metres. This concern is driving widespread forced evacuations from low-lying parts of the Whitsunday Islands, Burdekin Shire and areas of southern Townsville. Some people are reported not to be leaving. "The don't understand the severity. This is a major cyclone. We haven't seen a cyclone like this", said Burdekin Shire Mayor Lyn McLaughlin. "People who stay, they stay at their own risk. They are given notice that once the winds get to 100 kilometres no-one is going to come to their assistance." However, authorities underline that while you can shelter from wind in your house, you cannot shelter from inundation by the sea.

Sunday 26 March 2017

 Tropical Cyclone Debbie intensifies to Category 2 overnight
Updated 26/3/17 20.00EDT: See second story below
********************************************

TC Debbie intensified to a Category 2 system on Saturday evening and is expected to intensify further to Category 3 by late this afternoon. The cyclone, which is now packing winds averaging 100km/h and gusting to 140km/h near the centre, continues to be slow moving, but is expected to swing to the WSW and pick up speed later this morning. Landfall is currently expected to be between Townsville and Proserpine on Tuesday morning, or at earliest overnight Monday, at Category 4 intensity.

Residents on the coast and islands between Ayr and Mackay should see gales develop this afternoon or evening, extending south to St Lawrence by this evening and north to Cairns and inland to Charters Towers during tomorrow. Destructive winds with gusts over 125km/h are expected to develop along the coast and islands between Lucinda and Mackay tomorrow afternoon or evening.

The latest Tropical Cyclone Advice issued at 04.41EST also warns that "abnormally high tides are expected to occur between at least Lucinda and Mackay as the cyclone approaches the coast. Large waves may also develop along the beachfront." With high wind and seas expected, it also warns that "People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities."

More general flash flooding is expected to be a problem along the northern and central QLD coasts and adjacent inland between Sunday and Tuesday, with broadscale major river flooding a threat. A Flood Watch is current for coastal rivers from Cairns to Gladstone and inland to the eastern Gulf rivers.

TC Debbie's central pressure had dropped to 984hPa at 04.00EST and the system continues to show improved signs of development, although a central eye is still not clear on the first visible satellite images after sunrise. The slow movement is a result of weak steering at present, but a middle atmosphere ridge building to the south of the cyclone as forecast will steer the cyclone to the WSW right through until landfall.

The environment surrounding Debbie remains excellently suited to further development right up to landfall, with some guidance suggesting a 30% chance of rapid intensification during today or early tomorrow.

To keep fully up to date, use the TCWC Current Tropical Cyclones page to access all available warnings, track maps, technical information and backgrounder advice in the one place.

 TC Debbie to intensify to Category 3 tonight as it approaches coast

Tropical Cyclone Debbie has steadily picked up speed and strength as it moved towards the QLD coast today. At 16.00EST it was moving at 8km/h towards the SW, and was expected to swing to a WSW direction and increase to a Category 3 intensity overnight. Estimated winds near the centre at that time were a 10-minute average of 110km/h with gusts to 155km/h. The cyclone was located about 330km ENE of Bowen and 440km ENE of Townsville.

Forecasters at the BoM Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Brisbane see no change in the broad pattern that will steer Debbie on a WSW course towards the coast. With sea surface temperatures of 29 to 30° and excellent, undisturbed upper-level outflow all around the cyclone to disperse its mighty updrafts, conditions remain favourable for its development right up to landfall when it is expected to be at Category 4 intensity. In its late afternoon Technical Bulletin, the TCWC notes that two sets of guidance it has recently received "suggest a period of rapid intensification is possible in the next 24 hours. Given this evidence, the intensity may be higher than forecast approaching landfall."

This evening's warning expects landfall to be somewhere between Rollingstone, a small settlement 50km NW of Townsville, and Proserpine, 220km SE of Townsville, meaning that a landfall close to Townsville is still a possibility. Gales are expected to develop on the coast and islands between Ayr and Mackay this evening, and could extend to remaining areas between Lucinda and St Lawrence during Monday, then north to Innisfail and inland to Charters Towers and Mount Coolon on Monday evening or Tuesday morning.

Destructive winds with gusts over 125km/h are expected to develop about the exposed coast and islands between Ayr and Mackay during Monday morning, extending north to Lucinda by the evening. Winds in the very destructive core of the cyclone are expected to gust up to 260km/h. Because of the large size of the cyclone, destructive winds will extend well out from the central core. Debbie is also expected to maintain cyclone strength, with damaging to destructive winds, as it tracks inland towards Charters Towers.

An increasing concern reflected in the TCWC warnings is that of abnormally high tides and damage from high seas sweeping inshore. The Barometric pressure at 04.00EST Tuesday, around the time Debbie is expected to be close to crossing the coast, is 942hPa which, combined with hurricane force winds, would create major storm surge damage. Low air pressure means there is less weight of air above the sea allowing it to bulge upwards. The high winds push water towards the shore piling them higher on the shoreline and in estuaries, causing flooding and wave damage well above the normal level reached by waves. This evening's warning is more detailed than previous warnings about this.

It says "Abnormally high tides are expected to occur south of Proserpine on the high tides on Monday. On Tuesday, residents between Rollingstone and Mackay are specifically warned of the dangerous storm tide as the cyclone crosses the coast. The sea is likely to rise steadily up to a level well above the normal tide, with damaging waves and flooding of some low-lying areas close to the shoreline as the cyclone approaches the coast on Tuesday. Large waves may also develop along the beachfront. People living in areas likely to be affected by this flooding should take measures to protect their property as much as possible and be prepared to follow instructions regarding evacuation of the area if advised to do so by the authorities."

The warning, and associated Flood Watch, have ramped up the level of flooding expected. "Areas of heavy rain with the potential to cause severe flash flooding are expected to develop about parts of the northern and central Queensland coast and adjacent inland areas late on Sunday and continue through Monday and Tuesday," it says. "Widespread daily rainfall totals of 200 mm, with isolated falls of 400 mm, [are] also likely to lead to major river flooding over a broad area next week, and a Flood Watch is current for coastal catchments between Cardwell and Gladstone, extending inland to the eastern Gulf River catchments."

 North QLD gets cyclone-ready: on the ground

As North Queenslanders prepare for a major cyclone, comparisons are being made with TC Yasi six years ago which caused widespread and major damage to the region, some of which took years to overcome. Storm surges were a major factor in Yasi's $800 million damage footprint and, while Debbie may be less powerful than Yasi on landfall if it arrives as a Category 4 cyclone, it will be of a similar size. With memories of Yasi fresh in their minds, locals are taking the warnings very seriously.

Evacuations began today at a number of coastal communities susceptible to storm surges between Townsville and Proserpine and on the Whitsunday Islands [SBS]. Household preparation has been under way, especially clearing potential airborne objects. Long queues developed at some local tips, prompting one Tweeter to tweet "Our yard has not been so neat and tidy since #cycloneyasi". Local supermarket shelves are virtually empty of basic products, service stations have been "going crazy" selling petrol and there is widespread sandbagging to protect flood-vulnerable property.

A thousand emergency services personnel as well as an Australian Defence Force taskforce have already been positioned between Townsville and Mackay to prepare for a potential natural disaster. Most flights have been cancelled for Townsville and other airports in the region for at least Monday and Tuesday [SBS]. Townsville Hospital has cancelled elective surgery to prepare for disaster emergencies while schools between Ayr and Proserpine have been closed from tomorrow and others may follow. James Cook University's campuses from Cairns to Mackay will be closed. [SBS, ABC, Guardian]

Saturday 25 March 2017

 North QLD tropical low may hit coast as Category 4 Cyclone
Updated 25/3/17 18.45EDT: See second story below
*******************************************

A tropical low that has been drifting generally south from New Guinea over the past few days may develop into a severe Tropical Cyclone before hitting the northern QLD coast early next week.

The Bureau of Meteorology's Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre in Brisbane issued its first cyclone advice yesterday afternoon at 17.00. The advice, technical bulletin and track map issued around 05.00EST this morning show an increasing confidence that the cyclone, which will most likely be named Tropical Cyclone Debbie, will form this afternoon and strengthen as high as Category 4 before arriving at the QLD coast on Monday evening or Tuesday morning next week.

The TCWC says the system is now being eyeballed on the Willis Island radar, and surface observations from Lihou Reef, SE of Willis, indicate the pressure at its centre, located 620km ENE of Townsville, has dropped significantly over the past 24 hours to 991.8hPa at 04.00EST. Steering the overall movement of the cyclone will be the middle atmosphere windflows which are currently moving it SSE, but are expected to swing it onto a west to WSW track today, which will then continue all the way to the QLD coast.

Adding to a heightened sense of preparedness in northern QLD is that the system is, and will continue to be, in an "environment [that] will remain supportive of intensification right up to landfall on the Queensland coast" says the TCWC. The 04.51EST track map and statements from the BoM suggest it could strengthen as high as Category 4 before landfall.

Although all the models available to the Bureau are indicating a similar W to WSW track into the QLD coast, Tropical Cyclones are notoriously unpredictable as they perform track wobbles within the broader steering environment. However, forecasters produce a cone-shaped area of likely tracks ahead of the advancing cyclone, and that will narrow down to a likely landfall area as the cyclone nears the coast. As at 05.00, the TCWC had the Watch Zone extending along 800km of the north QLD coast from Cape Tribulation down to St Lawrence, but this will narrow as certainty increases.

Should the cyclone arrive at the coast as a Category 4, the second-highest level, it should not be underestimated. The BoM describes a Category 4 cyclone impacts as "Significant roofing loss and structural damage. Many caravans destroyed and blown away. Dangerous airborne debris. Widespread power failures. [The] strongest winds are VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds with typical gusts over open flat land of 225 - 279 km/h." In addition, the TCWC expects heavy rain, flooding and abnormally high tides. As with the cyclone's track, its intensity at landfall is also difficult to predict.

To keep fully up to date, use the TCWC Current Tropical Cyclones page to access all available warnings, track maps, technical information and backgrounder advice in the one place. Updates are currently being issued every six hours around 05.00, 11.00, 17.00 and 23.00, but the frequency of updates would increase as the cyclone intensifies and gets closer to land.

 Tropical Cyclone Debbie to head for QLD coast - afternoon update

Tropical Cyclone Debbie was declared just before 11.00 EST. The system has become much more organised during the morning as began turning to the SW, and a clear, though not circular, eye developed around noon.

The forecast track has moved progressively south in the forecasts issued since this morning's story, and the Forecast Track Map issued at 17.09EST this afternoon shows it crossing the coast near Ayr, 70km SE of Townsville. Consequently, watch and warning zones have been shifted south. The Watch Zone (gales expected from 24 to 48 hours) is from Cairns to Ayr and the newly-declared Warning Zone (gales expected within 24 hours) is from Ayr to St Lawrence.

TC Debbie, now at Category 1, has been relatively slow moving today but is expected to move steadily WSW this evening and continue moving WSW as it increases to Category 4 before landfall. The latest warning says "Tropical Cyclone Debbie is expected to cross the coast between Townsville and Proserpine on Tuesday morning, most likely as a CATEGORY 4 tropical cyclone, with wind gusts up to 260 kilometres per hour near the centre.

"DESTRUCTIVE winds are likely to develop about the Whitsunday Islands and nearby coast on Sunday evening, and extend to other areas between Ayr and Mackay overnight into Monday morning. GALES are expected to develop between Ayr and St Lawrence from late Sunday afternoon and evening, and may extend to other coastal areas north to Innisfail during Monday."

In addition, abnormally high tides with large waves are expected at least between Lucinda and Mackay, while areas of heavy rain are expected, with a Flood Watch current.

The cyclone is becoming impressively large with spiral banding now covering much of the Coral Sea. It has become slowly more organised during the day, its slow central development being fairly typical of very large tropical lows, according to the BoM Brisbane Tropical Cyclone Warning Centre. The Centre says in its Technical Bulletin "Given such a large circulation, it can be expected that the system will have some effect back onto the surrounding steering systems - this is part of the reason for the drift to more southerly tracks recently. All model guidance is in agreement with this scenario, although there remain some differences in forward speed amongst the guidance, which affects not only the time of impact, but also the length of time available for the system to intensify over the water."

The Centre also notes that "the environment will remain supportive of intensification right up to landfall on the Queensland coast."

Keep up to date with latest warnings, track maps and detailed bulletins on the TCWC Current Tropical Cyclones page. The Sydney Morning Herald also gave a good account of the situation late this afternoon, saying "BoM Queensland regional director Bruce Gunn couldn't rule out the possibility of the cyclone becoming a category five, depending on how long it stayed over the ocean, and said there was also the possibility of the system increasing speed and making landfall as early as Sunday night." The less time it spends developing over the Coral Sea, the weaker it will be on landfall.

Thursday 23 March 2017

 WMO celebrates World Meteorological Day with great news

Today, the weather community celebrates World Meteorological Day with a focus this year on clouds. And the World Meteorological Organisation has given us a surprise package that many have been looking forward to for years, with an unexpected twist.

Almost every day there are clouds above us - beautiful, delicate, powerful, intimidating - that provide us with the best free show on earth. They give us rain to nourish us but can unleash powerful forces that terrify us.

In launching the Day, WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said "Throughout the centuries, few natural phenomena have inspired as much scientific thought and artistic reflection as clouds. More than two millennia ago, Aristotle studied clouds and wrote a treatise addressing their role in the hydrological cycle. And today, scientists understand that clouds play a vital role in the Earth’s energy balance, climate and weather.

“If we want to forecast weather we have to understand clouds. If we want to model the climate system we have to understand clouds. And if we want to predict the availability of water resources, we have to understand clouds,” said Mr Taalas.

WMO has used World Meteorological Day 2017 to issue its first revision of the International Cloud Atlas in over three decades. This is the cloud bible. It is huge, and covers in detail every cloud and atmospheric meteor known to man.

It provides standards for cloud recognition and reporting by meteorologists, observers and weather enthusiasts everywhere, as well as detailed descriptions of each cloud type's formation processes and distinguishing features.

It covers all the meteorological meteors often associated with clouds such as fog, all types of precipitation, frost, ice, duststorms and tornadoes. There are the photometeors such as halos, rainbows, glories and mirages, and at the other end of the scale the electrometeors such as auroras, lightning, thunder, and the elusive St Elmo's fire.

The International Cloud Atlas is profusely illustrated with photographs selected from thousands submitted, and represent the best of the best. There are flowcharts to help decision making between similar clouds, and case studies, including weather charts, satellite or radar imagery, and atmospheric soundings to help you understand how and why the cloud has formed. There's also time-lapse and video imagery to demonstrate the evolution of particular cloud forms.

Best of all, as that last sentence has just given away, IT IS ONLINE AND FREE, on its own website, replacing two huge books in the old edition. Enjoy!

Monday 13 March 2017

 Central and NE NSW cop heavy rain and hail as thundery weather dawdles through

Lines and areas of slow-moving thunderstorms gave some intense downpours and heavy hail to many places in the NSW Central West and inland northeastern districts today.

The causes were a warm surface trough of low pressure lying down the centre of the state and a large area of air up to 10° colder than normal sitting over north-central NSW. The instability triggered by these temperature differences then lifted moisture moving into the state from the NE, giving residents in some areas surprising early-morning thunderstorms well before dawn. There were rumbles at Inverell until around 03.30EDT when heavy rain joined in, giving the town 45.2mm by 09.30. More storms through the day have left a total to midnight of 71.6mm since the storms began.

During the morning, a low pressure centre developed in the trough near Nyngan while a second centre developed south of this during the afternoon. These had the effect of intensifying convergence into the trough. (Winds coming into the lows from different directions near the surface then have nowhere else to go, so they go up, adding to the upward motions causing the overall thunderstorm activity.)

In Dubbo, a storm between 07.30 and 08.30EDT dropped 21.0mm in the gauge, but was nothing compared with two back-to-back storms that hit the city between 12.00 and 15.00 bringing 51.0mm of rain, hail of 1 to 2cm size in eastern Dubbo and lying in drifts up to 5cm deep across the city, accompanied by winds gusting to 59km/h. By midnight, Dubbo had recorded 90.4mm since the day began. But the prize for downpours goes to Moree, where 53.6mm fell at the airport in just 39 minutes, between 18.21 and 19.00. Included in that was 15.4mm which fell in 8 minutes to 18.51 and winds gusting to 74km/h.

State Emergency Services received 150 calls for help across the state, mainly for water damage as leaves and hail clogged building downpipes and water entered roofs and electrical circuits. Sixty-five of the calls were in Dubbo, where the Charles Sturt University campus had to be closed and staff and students evacuated due to water damage to buildings. ABC News carries many photos of the storm that capture its intensity.

Older items are archived and indexed in the Daily Weather Summary for the relevant date.

    

* I link to stories and resources frequently - why re-do what has already been well done? However, a regular problem with the Internet is "link rot". There are two main causes: either the link has ceased to exist, in which case you get the dreaded "Error 404 page not found" or the link exists but the information on it has changed. Where possible, I use "permalinks", URLs which I know are likely not to change in the foreseeable future because the organisation, such as the ABC, has developed a stable link structure. Where I think a link may suffer link rot, I mark it with an asterisk but be aware that there's no guarantee unasterisked links won't evaporate given time.

Unless otherwise indicated, data and charts are provided by the

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