| Above: Storms
occurred in all states and the NT today, but were most active in eastern
VIC, NSW, QLD, NT and northern WA. This lightning tracker and radar image
at 6.14pm EDT shows the concentration of storms ahead of a troughline
in SE QLD and around a Low in the Tasman off Sydney. Weatherzone
| Above: The
surface chart for 5pm EDT shows the Low and trough system responsible
for the widespread storm activity. This monsoonal trough, separating
southeasterly winds to the south from a westerly flow to the north, normally
lies farther north, triggering the heavy rain expected in the NT/QLD
Wet Season. Its southerly movement has drawn deep reserves of tropical
moisture into SE QLD, NSW, VIC and TAS, while the movement of colder
upper air over SE Australia this week has interacted with the moisture
flood rain in TAS and violent storms and flash flooding in VIC and SE
| Above: Flood
status in TAS northeastern streams at 11am. BoM
eases, flooding continues in TAS
Rain cleared from most of the flood-ravaged northeastern half of TAS
by late this morning as the Low responsible retreated from the island up
the NSW coast. Rain
in the 24 hours to 9am (see
below) was mostly between 50 and 100mm in the northeast, East Coast and
Southeast, with the automatic weather station atop Mt Wellington posting
an all-time record one-day total of 128.2mm. In the 3.5 days to 9pm today,
Mt Wellington has recorded 303.6mm. Gray, TAS's traditional wet spot on the
East Coast at the top of Elephant Pass SE of St Mary's, recorded 190mm in
the 24 hours to 9am, boosting its 3-day total to 486.4mm. Gray's previous
recording began in 1962 was 323.6mm in 1991.
The worst of the flooding continues to be in the South Esk river system. Major
flooding peaked at Mathinna (4.2m 6pm yesterday), Fingal (7.1m 3am today) and
Llewellyn (9.1m 1pm today) and was rising strongly in the Symmons Plains area
20km SE of Launceston this evening. A moderate flood peak continued moving
down the Macquarie River and was in the middle reaches around Ross this afternoon.
Minor flooding subsided in the North Esk and Mersey Rivers during the day.
In addition to main river flooding, the torrential rain has caused flash flooding
of smaller coastal streams and other disruption in NE TAS.
- The 250 megalitre Pyengana Dam, 20km W of St Helens, leaked
or burst its contents into the Georges River.
- Parts of TAS's far northeast were still isolated. Food supplies
were being airlifted into Musselroe Bay and Ansons Bay, while
some evacuations occurred in the area today.
- A landslide blocked the Tasman Highway at St Mary's Pass overnight,
while floodwaters cut the highway north of St Helens. The Esk
Highway near Avoca was also closed as were about 15 minor roads
in the northeast.
- In the South Esk Valley, poppy and barley crops were damaged
by the heavy rain and the Break O'Day Council has reports of several
bridges and roads damaged by flood waters.
- Binalong Bay, 10km NE of St Helens, was cut off by floodwaters
from around 7pm Wednesday until today stranding hundreds of holiday
makers. A police launch was used last night to deliver basic supplies
across Georges Bay after the town's only shop ran out of supplies.
- Insurance assessors estimate there will be around 600 claims
totalling over $1m for home flood damage down the east coast.
Severe storms bring death and destruction
to SE QLD
The most severe of the current spate of thunderstorms to
affect SE QLD swept across Brisbane and nearby areas mid to late
afternoon. A man was killed by lightning near Gympie and
two children were injured by a falling tree at the University of
Queenland's St Lucia campus. Wind gusted to 89km/h at Brisbane Airport
and 83km/h at the Brisbane City AWS. Hundreds of homes across the
metro area suffered damage from wind and falling trees while a block
of units in New Farm, close to the CBD, lost its roof and an apartment
building at Woodridge was also damaged. Trees and powerlines were
again brought down resulting in widespread lengthy power outages
for the second time in three days. This time, 121,000 homes were
still without power the next morning. While the winds were strong
across the metro area, the strongest gusts were recorded as the
storms swept across Moreton Bay where Banana Bank Beacon recorded
a top gust of 122km/h at 4.49pm and Cape Moreton Lighthouse recorded
102km/h 7 minutes later.
Heavy rain from early morning storms
Rain rates of 50 to 70mm/hour were recorded from severe thunderstorms
that developed over Port Phillip Bay early this morning, then drifted
north over Sandringham and Moorabbin before continuing over the
CBD and inner suburbs. Flash flooding caused morning peak hour traffic
chaos. The rain from these storms when added to those of yesterday
afternoon gave some impressive 24 hour totals to 9am, including
Kew 91.4, Deer Park 71.4, Brighton 69, Oakleigh South 56.2, Kinglake
55.6 and Geelong Airport 54. Storms redeveloped in the state's central
and eastern areas during the afternoon, one giving Myrtleford 18.2mm
in 15 minutes.
More reports of large hail (and a tornado?) with storms in NSW
Hail to 4cm diameter was reported today from Evans Head on the
North Coast and Drake, 60km west of Casino near the boundary of
the North Coast and Northern Tablelands. Batemans Bay reported 2cm
hail. A tornado sighting was reported to the Bureau of Meteorology
from Evans Head, but no other details are available.
Tropical Cyclone develops near Cocos Islands
A tropical low which developed two days ago and moved southeast
reached cyclone intensity today and was named Linda.
It passed within 130 kilometres of Cocos Islands giving the
islands moderate rain (84mm to 9am yesterday) before moving south
and decaying on 1 February.
News sources: AAP, ABC, Mercury, Examiner