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Storms bring late morning flash flooding to Sydney
Parts of Sydney were inundated by flash floods this morning as up to 50mm of rain fell in an hour causing the collapse of a house, widespread traffic disruption, delays at the airport and thirteen floodwater rescues.
Two major thunderstorms developed along a trough line, with the storms moving from the WSW into very moist southeasterly winds coming in from the sea. The heaviest rain and greatest disruption was caused by the eastern storm which moved from around Canterbury to the Sydney CBD area. Canterbury recorded 40.6mm falling in 40 minutes from 10.00 for a storm total of 51.2mm. In the middle of the storm there, 15.6mm fell in 10 minutes from 10.20. Nearby Marrickville Golf Club registered 54mm. Half an hour later, the storm hit the Sydney CBD itself, with Observatory Hill recording 36.8mm in 40 minutes from 10.30 for a storm total of 53.4mm. A number of storm totals exceeded the rainfall received during the whole month of January, including Observatory Hill where 48.4mm fell then.
Gutters could not drain water fast enough to carry away the heavy, continuous downpour, especially close to the CBD, leading to flooded and closed roads according to Fairfax Media. Light rail services between Dulwich Hill and Central were cancelled, and Sydney Airport said there were delays, diversions and cancellations, tweeting at 12.17 that there had been 2446 lightning strikes within 18km of the airport. Some shops by flooded roads reported up to two inches of water over their floors, and ABC News said that SES volunteers had responded to 13 separate flood rescues around Glebe, Marrickville, Alexandria and Zetland. A house in Tennyson Point, 10km WNW of the CBD near Gladesville, collapsed when its roof caved in and firefighters believe it will have to be rebuilt.
The western storm was less intense and moved NE through the suburbs west of Parramatta at the same time. It gave between 30 and 45mm of rain in an area between Prospect and North Parramatta.
Intensified monsoon trough threatens two cyclones
BoM Tropical Cyclone forecasters are watching the country's tropical seas for the possible development of two cyclones in the reinvigorated northern Australian monsoon. A tropical depression west of Broome, which already has a central pressure down to 988hPa, is given a 20 to 50% chance of developing into a Tropical Cyclone during Wednesday, while a suspect area in the Gulf of Carpentaria is also given a 20 to 50% chance of developing into one by Thursday.
Both would most likely drift to the west towards land in which case they would not be able to develop significantly before making landfall and rapidly weakening. Further details on the overall situation are available in the Bureau's Weekly Tropical Climate Note, published today. There is also a good explanation of the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) on the BoM site. The MJO influences the strength of the monsoon and the likelihood of Tropical Cyclone development, and has recently increased to medium intensity