Wednesday 03 DEC 2003

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2003

Dec

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Slow-moving severe storm causes $100m damage in Melbourne
Widespread storms across eastern states

Above: Hourly Melbourne radar from 0340UTC (2.40pm Tuesday) to 1940UTC (6.40am today). During the afternoon, local torrential falls from storms pockmark much of the state, while storms that brought heavy rain to parts of the Melbourne metro area can be seen on the 0340 (2.40pm), 0640 (5.40pm) and 0840 (7.40pm) images. From 0940 to 1140 (8.40 to 10.40), activity appears to be dying out, but at 1240 (11.40pm Tuesday) a major cell has suddenly appeared to the north of Melbourne, with developing cells to the northwest. The 1340 (12.40am) and 1440 (1.40am) frames show general southeast development of the storms, but an area of torrential rain remains anchored over Melbourne's northern and northeastern suburbs. By 1540 (2.40am), the storm complex has begun to move away over southeastern suburbs, and by 1740 (4.40am) is starting to weaken as it moves away over West Gippsland. BoM

Below: More detailed radar images each 10 minutes from 11pm to 5am. BoM

Slow-moving severe storm causes $100m damage in Melbourne

An unexpected and still unexplained severe storm brought chaos to Melbourne this morning along with a damage bill likely to exceed $100m.

During Tuesday, storms were widespread through central VIC with radar showing intense but localised heavy rainfall and likely hail. Three such storms crossed or sideswiped the Melbourne metro area during the afternoon and early evening, with brief high rainfall rates and hail. A 20-minute hailstorm in the Lilydale/Mooroolbark area brought hail up to 3cm in diameter causing severe damage, including to about 350 cars in three car salesyards, as well as widespread damage to trees, buildings and other vehicles. A second storm in the same area later in the afternoon brought hail near softball size and caused flooding, closing Mt Lilydale College. The SES fielded 75 calls from homes and businesses in Doncaster, Croydon and Lilydale affected by flash flooding.

Away from Melbourne, Newbury, 45km ENE of Ballarat, reported 2cm hail and flash flooding in the late afternoon, while Kinglake, 50km NE of Melbourne, received 52mm of rain in 80 minutes with hail to 6cm diameter during the evening.

Storms died out as the evening progressed, but a major cell developed rapidly north of Melbourne in the Craigieburn area soon before midnight, followed by smaller cells to its west. The time of development is most unusual, and its causes not yet known. The main cell appears on radar to have moved over Melbourne's northern suburbs around midnight and lodged there for nearly two hours, giving nearly continuous heavy rain and lightning accompanied by what one observer described as "waves of hail" with hail up to 2.5cm diameter reported at Fairfield. Radio reports at the time suggested that the heaviest rain was in the Preston to Northcote area. The highest official rain measurement was at Viewbank, 8km east of Preston, which recorded 107.8mm for the 24 hours to 9am today. Of this, 87mm fell between midnight and 3am and 76.2mm was recorded between 1.25 and 2.30am. Other heavy short-duration falls included 32.2mm in the hour to 1.30am at the Bureau's central Melbourne site and 51.6 in 2 hours to 4am at Scoresby, 26km ESE of the CBD. Records for December one-day rainfall were set at at least three locations: Scoresby 68.0, Mitcham 78.4 and Preston Reservoir 99.0. Preston's records stretch back 94 years. Other heavy 24 hour falls reported to the Bureau were 107mm at Merri Creek, Bell Street, 106.6 at Eastern Golf Club, 104.6 at Banksia Street Heidelberg, 99.8 at an unspecified point on the Eastern Freeway, 88.4 at Gardiner Creek, 87 at Northcote and 78.2 at Lower Plenty.

This storm, the worst in Melbourne since 1972, and with rainfall intensity described by the Bureau of Meteorology as a 1 in 50 to 100 year event, brought a chaotic morning to Australia's second-largest city. Roads, homes and businesses were flooded and boats were required to rescue people from the roofs of stranded cars.

  • Most of the 60 or 70 stores in the Station Street shopping precinct in Fairfield were seriously damaged by raging floodwaters. Many will take weeks to repair. Water up to a metre deep flowed through some shops when stormwater drains were overwhelmed, the force so great that a butcher's two freezers, carrying 300-400 kilos of turkeys, were overturned. Darebin City Council was investigating claims that drains were blocked, while Melbourne Water pointed out that drainage installed prior to 1975 was designed to deal only with 1 in 5 year storm falls.
  • Damage estimated at $2m was done to the North Balwyn Bowls Club.
  • The 600-student Marcellin College in Bulleen was so seriously damaged that it will be closed until the New Year.
  • A nursing home in Fairfield suffered more than $50,000 damage and 80 per cent of the facility was flooded with 10cm of water. A second nursing home was also damaged.
  • 12 people whose cars were submerged in 1.5m deep water under the Bulleen Road Bridge on the Eastern Freeway were rescued from the roofs by the Maritime Response Unit in two boats. Joff Spencer of the Unit told ABC PM, "It's the first time I've had to put a motor on a boat and go down a freeway and rescue people in a boat.
  • Roads were closed by flooding in Preston, Fairfield, and Templestowe as well as parts of the Eastern Freeway. Railway lines (unspecified) were also affected.
  • A car was carried away by floodwaters at Doncaster.
  • Cars were submerged by floodwaters in Lynwood Parade, Lower Templestowe. The driver of one, a Honda CRV, was trapped when electronically-operated windows would not open, and rescued with only 30cm of airspace left in the vehicle.
  • Houses were flooded at Essendon, North Fitzroy and Coburg, as was a hotel (unspecified).
  • 2,000 telephone faults due to flooding were reported to Telstra by 2pm today.
  • The SES responded to over 1,400 calls for help in Melbourne, Geelong and on the Mornington Peninsula during the storms, mostly for flooded homes, collapsed ceilings and fallen trees. About half were from Northcote, Preston, Fairfield, and northern suburbs of Melbourne.
  • There were problems with the emergency 000 number, with delays as long as 40 minutes in answering, though less than 30 callers waited more than 10 minutes. Around 7,500 calls were received in 10 hours to 5am today. A software upgrade on the system's computers had begun after 8pm Tuesday when the Bureau of Meteorology cancelled storm warnings for the evening. When a warning for the early morning storm was issued at 11.38pm, the system could not be restored in time. Emergency Services Commissioner Bruce Esplin told ABC Radio "[The event] was unprecedented and by our analysis of all the data it was five to six times greater than any extreme event call-taking volume ever created before."
  • The Insurance Council of Australia said that 25,000 claims had been received by 5 December. The Insurance Disaster Response Organisation said on 9 December that the total of claims received had been $93m, and the final total was expected to exceed $100m.

The Bureau of Meteorology is preparing a report on the storm.

Other reports:
Australian Sky & Weather
Stormplanet

Widespread storms across eastern states


Rainfall for the 24 hours to 9am today. BoM

Storms today brought heavy falls in QLD, NSW and VIC and strong wind gusts in outback SA. Full details of heavy falls are in downpours below, but some of the more remarkable totals from afternoon storms were 25.4mm in 12 minutes at Trepell Airport in NW QLD, 24.6mm in 30 minutes at Mt Baw Baw VIC, 25.4mm in 15 minutes at Cessnock NSW, and 21.0mm in 30 minutes at Holsworthy in SW Sydney. The western Sydney suburb of Glenmore Park reported 60.8mm for the 24 hours to 9am Thursday, most of which would have fallen in a storm early this evening. Some late reports received by the Bureau show that Blaxland in the Blue Mountains recorded 40mm in 10 minutes and that the 60mm at Glenmore Park in Sydney's west fell in 30 minutes.

In VIC, the storms produced large hail to 3.5cm diameter west of Yarra Glen to Melbourne's east and seriously injured a golfer who was struck by lightning at Seymour. Knowsley, 30km ESE of Bendigo, reported 50mm falling in 45 minutes accompanied by strong winds. Other reports of wild weather included wind gusts up to 100km/h and flooding at Broadford, 25mm in 30 minutes at Mt Baw Baw with hail to 4cm diameter, and 20mm of rain in 30 minutes at Warrenbayne, 20km SW of Benalla.

In NSW, 5 people were struck by lightning while walking at the base of the Three Sisters in the Blue Mountains. In SA, storms that developed mid-evening in a deepening trough over the state's northeast produced a wind gust of 121km/h at Coober Pedy Airport.

News sources: The Age, ABC, AAP, Herald-Sun, Australian IT, Australian, Border Mail, Herald Sun, ABC PM

National weather extremes for today

Data provided by the Bureau of Meteorology

Records set this day (previous record and years of computerised record shown in brackets):
Highest daily rainfall for December
Victoria:
086074 MITCHAM 78.4 (60.8, 67)
086096 PRESTON RESERVOIR 99.0 (90.0, 94)
086104 SCORESBY RESEARCH INSTITUTE 68.0 (54.4, 48)

Quality control note: Data is final. It includes late-received rainfall data and has been subject to BoM quality control checks.
Data is as received at 13:38EST, 03/03/2004.

Weather observations for today
Noteworthy  Weather         Capital  Cities         Regional  Cities       Alpine  Stations
Bureau of Meteorology Rainfall Bulletins and Weather Notes

Hottest
Highest maximum temperature>Greatest variation above normal maximum Highest minimum temperatureGreatest variation above normal minimum

43.9 FITZROY CROSSING AERO W Kimberley WA
43.9 TELFER AERO Interior WA
43.6 PARDOO STATION E Pilbara WA
43.5 MARBLE BAR COMPARISON E Pilbara WA
43.2 MARBLE BAR E Pilbara WA

+8.4   35.5 CEDUNA AMO W Agricultural SA
+7.7   35.0 STREAKY BAY W Agricultural SA
+6.8   35.7 ELLISTON (GUM VIEW) W Agricultural SA
+6.6   37.4 KYANCUTTA W Agricultural SA
+6.3   35.4 KIMBA W Agricultural SA
+6.3   23.5 MOOGARA (UXBRIDGE BACK ROAD) Derwent Valley TAS

30.0 WYNDHAM N Kimberley WA
30.0 NORTHERN ENDEAVOUR Islands ISL
29.6 TROUGHTON ISLAND N Kimberley WA
29.5 MARBLE BAR COMPARISON E Pilbara WA
29.3 MARBLE BAR E Pilbara WA

+6.5   17.2 CASTLEMAINE PRISON N Central VIC
+6.4   15.5 STRATHBOGIE Lower NE VIC
+6.2   19.5 KERANG (POST OFFICE) Lower North VIC
+6.2   17.4 BENDIGO AIRPORT Upper North VIC
+5.9   20.6 MILDURA AIRPORT Mallee N VIC

Coldest
Lowest maximum temperatureGreatest variation below normal maximum Lowest minimum temperatureGreatest variation below normal minimum

13.5 MT HOTHAM Upper NE VIC
14.0 FALLS CREEK Upper NE VIC
14.6 CABRAMURRA SMHEA AWS SW Slopes S NSW
15.4 MOUNT WELLINGTON Southeast TAS
15.7 CHARLOTTE PASS (KOSCIUSKO CHALET) Snowy Mtns NSW

-7.5   23.8 QUANDIALLA POST OFFICE SW Slopes N NSW
-7.1   23.6 BALGAIR Eucla WA
-6.9   20.8 YASS (LINTON HOSTEL) Goulburn/Monaro NSW
-6.6   26.4 SOUTHERN CROSS Goldfields WA
-6.5   23.5 GRENFELL (QUONDONG RD) SW Slopes N NSW
-6.5   23.0 TEMORA A.R.S. SW Slopes N NSW

3.3 MAYDENA POST OFFICE Derwent Valley TAS
5.0 NARACOORTE AERODROME Lower SE SA
5.0 CHARLOTTE PASS (KOSCIUSKO CHALET) Snowy Mtns NSW
5.1 MOUNT WELLINGTON Southeast TAS
5.7 HEYWOOD FORESTRY W Coast VIC

-5.4   20.0 WITTENOOM W Pilbara WA
-4.9   10.5 CUNDERDIN Cent Wheatbelt WA
-4.5   16.0 MURCHISON W Gascoyne WA
-4.4   18.0 NYANG STATION W Gascoyne WA
-4.4   5.7 HEYWOOD FORESTRY W Coast VIC

Wettest Major City Extremes
Todays highest rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am. It includes the top 5 totals nationally followed by all reported falls of 50mm or more.

119.8 WONNAGATTA RIVER @ WATERFORD E Gippsland VIC
107.8 VIEWBANK (ARPANSA) E Central VIC
99.0 PRESTON RESERVOIR E Central VIC
98.4 NUMBER ONE (MURRAYS CREEK) MidNorth Coast S NSW
88.0 DUNROBIN STATION Central West QLD

NORTHERN TERRITORY
    N Rivers
57.2 MCMINNS LAGOON
    N Plateau
65.7 RANKEN RIVER

SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    Northeast
54.8 MANNA HILL

QUEENSLAND
    Gulf Country
63.0 STRATHMORE
    N Coast--Herbert
59.4 EL ARISH POST OFFICE
    Central West
88.0 DUNROBIN STATION
    Wide Bay/Burnett
52.0 HERON ISLAND RES STN

NEW SOUTH WALES
    N Tablelands E
61.6 GUY FAWKES (KANGAROO CREEK)
    MidNorth Coast S
98.4 NUMBER ONE (MURRAYS CREEK)
    Goulburn/Monaro
70.8 BOOROWA POST OFFICE
    SW Slopes N
73.0 BOOKHAM (GARRY ST)
59.6 YOUNG AIRPORT
55.0 BURRINJUCK DAM
52.4 WALLENDBEEN (CORANG)
    Riverina E
64.4 NARRANDERA AIRPORT
62.4 NARRANDERA GOLF CLUB
53.0 BECKOM ARIAH STREET
52.0 CONARGO POST OFFICE
50.6 ARDLETHAN POST OFFICE
    Riverina W
51.0 MERRIWAGGA (SYLVANHAM)

VICTORIA
    E Gippsland
119.8 WONNAGATTA RIVER @ WATERFORD
73.2 BLACK MOUNTAIN
    W Gippsland
59.0 REEVES KNOB
    E Central
107.8 VIEWBANK (ARPANSA)
99.0 PRESTON RESERVOIR
78.4 MITCHAM
68.0 SCORESBY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
62.0 RINGWOOD NORTH
54.6 BUNDOORA (LATROBE UNIVERSITY)
53.6 PRAHRAN (COMO HOUSE)
51.3 BEACONSFIELD UPPER
51.0 KINGLAKE WEST
    N Central
58.4 KINGLAKE WEST (WALLABY CREEK)

  Max+/- norm Min+/- normRain to 9am
BROOME AIRPORT 32.9 -0.9 27.7 +1.3 0.0
PERTH AIRPORT 28.3 -0.5 15.0 +0.2 0.0
ALBANY AIRPORT 18.7 -4.5 8.7 -3.8 0.2
KALGOORLIE-BOULDER AIRPORT 25.9 -6.0 13.9 -2.6 0.0
DARWIN AIRPORT 33.2 +0.7 25.0 -0.3 0.2
ALICE SPRINGS AIRPORT 38.1 +2.8 18.4 -1.7 1.0
ADELAIDE (KENT TOWN) 31.6 +4.9 12.7 -2.7 0.0
MOUNT GAMBIER AERO 22.4 -0.3 7.9 -1.9 0.0
CAIRNS AERO 32.5 +1.2 24.2 +0.9 0.4
TOWNSVILLE AERO 31.4 0.0 24.2 +0.2 1.2
ROCKHAMPTON AERO 30.3 -1.8 20.4 -0.7 0.0
BRISBANE AERO 27.7 19.7 12.4
AMBERLEY AMO 27.0 -3.9 19.2 +0.8 3.6
ARMIDALE AIRPORT AWS 25.1 10.8 6.4
COFFS HARBOUR MO 26.8 +0.5 19.4 +1.3 2.2
NEWCASTLE NOBBYS SIGNAL STATION AWS 24.4 -0.5 19.8 +1.8 1.4
SYDNEY (OBSERVATORY HILL) 25.0 -0.1 18.3 +0.8 3.0
PROSPECT DAM 25.8 -1.5 17.2 +0.9 3.8
WOLLONGONG UNIVERSITY 24.7 -0.3 16.6 +0.1 5.2
CANBERRA AIRPORT 20.9 -5.2 14.6 +3.4 30.0
WAGGA WAGGA AMO 24.1 -5.2 16.2 +2.5 4.2
MILDURA AIRPORT 35.0 +5.0 20.6 +5.9 0.0
EAST SALE AIRPORT 27.3 +4.1 13.1 +1.8 0.8
MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE 23.8 -0.3 16.9 +4.1 37.8
LAVERTON RAAF 23.4 -0.2 16.8 +4.9 2.6
BALLARAT AERODROME 27.3 +4.8 12.1 +2.7 0.0
LAUNCESTON AIRPORT 24.3 +3.1 11.9 +3.1 2.8
HOBART (ELLERSLIE ROAD) 24.0 +3.8 14.0 +3.3 0.0

Downpours Gales & Gusts
High rainfall for periods of 6 hours or less. Highest wind gusts above 89km/h (storm force) or mean wind above 62km/h (gale force). Wind direction and mean windspeed shown in brackets.
NORTHERN TERRITORY
    Darwin-Daly
DUM IN MIRRIE AWS
23.2mm in 40 min to 14:04 34.8mm/h
24.0mm in 3 hr to 15:30 8.0mm/h
    Roper-McArthur
WOLLOGORANG
26.0mm in 3 hr to 12:30 8.7mm/h
    Alice Springs
WULUNGURRU
5.6mm in 15 min to 18:22 22.4mm/h
QUEENSLAND
    Gulf Country
MORNINGTON ISLAND
27.4mm in 1 hr to 09:30 27.4mm/h
39.0mm in 3 hr to 12:00 13.0mm/h
    Northwest
TREPELL AIRPORT
7.8mm in 17 min to 16:54 27.5mm/h
25.4mm in 12 min to 17:06 127.0mm/h
42.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 14.0mm/h
    Wide Bay/Burnett
LADY ELLIOT ISLAND
25.0mm in 3 hr to 09:00 8.3mm/h
37.0mm in 3 hr to 12:00 12.3mm/h
HERON ISLAND RES STN
10.6mm in 1 hr to 05:00 10.6mm/h
19.0mm in 3 hr to 06:00 6.3mm/h
20.4mm in 1 hr to 08:00 20.4mm/h
32.0mm in 3 hr to 09:00 10.7mm/h
BUNDABERG AERO
22.2mm in 1 hr to 15:00 22.2mm/h
29.0mm in 3 hr to 15:00 9.7mm/h
TOWN OF 1770
15.0mm in 3 hr to 06:00 5.0mm/h
20.0mm in 3 hr to 09:00 6.7mm/h
    Brisbane/SE Coast
HERVEY BAY AIRPORT
15.0mm in 3 hr to 15:00 5.0mm/h
TOOLARA (KELLY)
24.8mm in 1 hr to 16:00 24.8mm/h
30.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 10.0mm/h
NEW SOUTH WALES
    Hunter Valley
CESSNOCK AIRPORT AWS
9.0mm in 6 min to 19:08 90.0mm/h
16.4mm in 9 min to 19:17 109.3mm/h
7.8mm in 43 min to 20:00 10.9mm/h
35.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 11.7mm/h
    Sydney--east
BANKSTOWN AIRPORT AWS
10.0mm in 23 min to 19:23 26.1mm/h
12.8mm in 1 hr to 20:00 12.8mm/h
CANTERBURY RACECOURSE AWS
12.0mm in 30 min to 19:30 24.0mm/h
12.0mm in 1 hr to 19:30 12.0mm/h
14.8mm in 1 hr to 20:00 14.8mm/h
17.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 5.7mm/h
    Sydney--west
BADGERYS CREEK AIRPORT AWS
13.4mm in 30 min to 18:30 26.8mm/h
13.4mm in 1 hr to 18:30 13.4mm/h
11.8mm in 31 min to 19:30 22.8mm/h
13.4mm in 1 hr to 19:30 13.4mm/h
28.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 9.3mm/h
PENRITH LAKES AWS
15.0mm in 1 hr to 19:00 15.0mm/h
10.6mm in 1 hr to 19:30 10.6mm/h
17.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 5.7mm/h
HOLSWORTHY CONTROL RANGE
21.0mm in 30 min to 19:30 42.0mm/h
21.4mm in 1 hr to 19:30 21.4mm/h
25.6mm in 1 hr to 20:00 25.6mm/h
27.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 9.0mm/h
HORSLEY PARK EQUESTRIAN CENTRE AWS
5.6mm in 13 min to 19:13 25.8mm/h
6.6mm in 17 min to 19:30 23.3mm/h
18.4mm in 1 hr to 19:30 18.4mm/h
15.4mm in 1 hr to 20:00 15.4mm/h
22.0mm in 3 hr to 21:00 7.3mm/h
    Goulburn/Monaro
CANBERRA AIRPORT
13.4mm in 1 hr to 10:30 13.4mm/h
12.2mm in 1 hr to 11:00 12.2mm/h
18.0mm in 3 hr to 12:00 6.0mm/h
VICTORIA
    Upper North
BENDIGO AIRPORT
4.2mm in 11 min to 16:30 22.9mm/h
YARRAWONGA
7.6mm in 20 min to 19:13 22.8mm/h
    Upper NE
MT HOTHAM
13.4mm in 1 hr to 19:30 13.4mm/h
    W Gippsland
MT BAW BAW
24.6mm in 30 min to 18:00 49.2mm/h
26.0mm in 1 hr to 18:00 26.0mm/h
42.0mm in 3 hr to 18:00 14.0mm/h
30.6mm in 1 hr to 18:30 30.6mm/h
MT MOORNAPA
11.8mm in 34 min to 15:30 20.8mm/h
17.6mm in 1 hr to 15:30 17.6mm/h
    E Central
ESSENDON AIRPORT
10.8mm in 30 min to 00:30 21.6mm/h
10.8mm in 1 hr to 00:30 10.8mm/h
13.0mm in 1 hr to 01:00 13.0mm/h
15.0mm in 3 hr to 03:00 5.0mm/h
VIEWBANK (ARPANSA)
27.0mm in 14 min to 01:39 115.7mm/h
2.8mm in 1 min to 01:40 168.0mm/h
13.2mm in 6 min to 01:46 132.0mm/h
9.2mm in 5 min to 01:51 110.4mm/h
24.0mm in 39 min to 02:30 36.9mm/h
87.0mm in 3 hr to 03:00 29.0mm/h
MELBOURNE REGIONAL OFFICE
20.0mm in 30 min to 01:00 40.0mm/h
20.6mm in 1 hr to 01:00 20.6mm/h
12.2mm in 30 min to 01:30 24.4mm/h
32.2mm in 1 hr to 01:30 32.2mm/h
14.8mm in 1 hr to 02:00 14.8mm/h
37.0mm in 3 hr to 03:00 12.3mm/h
MOORABBIN AIRPORT
13.2mm in 1 hr to 03:30 13.2mm/h
SCORESBY RESEARCH INSTITUTE
10.4mm in 1 hr to 02:30 10.4mm/h
10.6mm in 30 min to 03:00 21.2mm/h
19.4mm in 1 hr to 03:00 19.4mm/h
25.0mm in 3 hr to 03:00 8.3mm/h
18.2mm in 30 min to 03:30 36.4mm/h
28.8mm in 1 hr to 03:30 28.8mm/h
14.0mm in 30 min to 04:00 28.0mm/h
32.2mm in 1 hr to 04:00 32.2mm/h
14.2mm in 1 hr to 04:30 14.2mm/h
32.0mm in 3 hr to 06:00 10.7mm/h
DUNNS HILL
10.6mm in 30 min to 03:00 21.2mm/h
12.4mm in 1 hr to 03:00 12.4mm/h
14.0mm in 1 hr to 03:30 14.0mm/h

NORTHERN TERRITORY
    Alice Springs
WULUNGURRU : 93(220/ 61 ) at 18:07
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
    NW Pastoral
COOBER PEDY AIRPORT : 121(250/ 72 ) at 20:30
    NE Pastoral
OODNADATTA AIRPORT : 87(230/ 67 ) at 21:51
VICTORIA
    N Central
EILDON FIRE TOWER : 80(260/ 67 ) at 15:20