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Monsoonal rain sets records falling around Darwin
Record rainfall fell in and around Darwin in the 24 hours to 9am causing damage and road crashes. Shoal Bay, 20km NE of the city, recorded a mighty 290.0mm, its highest February fall since readings began in 1991 while Nightcliffe Pool, 10m north of the CBD, with a record that goes back to 1962 but with some missing years, also set a new February record. Other heavy falls included Geriatric Park 284.8 and Leanyer 254.4mm. Records are here.
ABC News reported that the monsoon burst created havoc on the roads and one fatal crash. Gusty winds brought down trees and there was minor flooding. The monsoon trough this afternoon ran from Derby in the WA Kimberley through the NT Top End to the far north of Cape York Peninsula in QLD. Apart from heavy rain around Darwin and falls of 100 to 150mm around Cairns in the southeasterly winds south of the trough, rain elsewhere has not been heavy. The main areas being watched are the NW of the Top End south of Darwin, and in the longer term the WA Kimberley.
US Congress gets to work dismantling environmental safeguards
The US Congress has wasted no time in removing "rules on the environment, corruption, labor and guns, with the Senate wiping from the books a rule aimed at reducing water pollution" according to Reuters. The coal industry hailed the removal of rules that limited the dumping of mining waste in streams, among many other changes, as one that would "get coal back on its feet and stop the hemorrhaging of jobs that we've seen," according to Luke Popovich, a spokesman for the National Mining Association.
In another act, AP reported, the House of Representatives voted to axe Obama rules limiting the burning-off of natural gas as part of drilling operations. The rules were designed to reduce greenhouse gas methane emissions while opponents claim that they are causing job losses in the US West and reducing energy production.
Meanwhile, in an interview with The Guardian, Myron Ebell, who headed Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency transition team, says that scrapping "the EPA in its entirety was 'an aspirational goal' that would be best achieved by incremental demolition rather than an executive order" citing the complexities of the task. He makes it clear that reduction in the functions of the EPA, which was set up in 1970 to protect human health and the environment, will be steered by incoming nominee Scott Pruitt, a climate denier, but in line with the President's campaign promises to abolish the EPA or "leave a little bit". Climate Central has reported that changes to the EPA website that are in line with this approach are already under way.
NSW in deep fry as the heat continues: Residents of Sydney and most of NSW must be getting used to high temperatures - they have no choice apart from taking a swim or ramping up the air conditioning. The mercury climbed to 46.3° at Wilcannia in the state's west today, only 1.9° below the highest temperature recorded in the town in 138 years. Most of Sydney saw at least 40° on the thermometer, with 42.7° at Bankstown the highest. You only escaped the heat if you were close to the coast or on the Harbour - Observatory Hill, at the southern end of the Harbour Bridge, only reached 34.9° while the thermometer on the Harbour's Western Channel Pile Light, affectionately known as West Wedding Cake (because it looks like one), reached just a balmy 30.2°.
You should also know:
- A wry retort to Donald Trump, detailing the huge number of errors he managed to cram into just one 25-word tweet, comes from France.
- On a brighter note, the BoM Facebook page is sporting some outstanding photographs sent in by readers. We particularly like this brooding image of boiling mammatus bulging from the base of a cumulonimbus storm cloud in the Hunter Valley, and the winner of this month's timeline cover photo competition - a 360° view Port Fairy facing a spectacular sunset. From either of these, cycle through the gallery to see many more quality photos.