The graphics and statistical information on this page fill gradually as they become available, with some not available until the next day.
The page is updated every 30 minutes at about 20 and 50 minutes past the hour.
For weather news as it breaks that is tagged and organised, use the links on the Weather and Climate Media Reports page.
First Tropical Cyclone of season may form soon in Gulf of Carpentaria
The Bureau of Meteorology rates a high chance that the tropical low that has been dawdling around the southern Gulf of Carpentaria for some days will form into a Tropical Cyclone by late Saturday. To be named TC Alfred if it does, it will be the first Tropical Cyclone in the Australian area so far this year, an unusually late start to the season.
The low passed close to Mornington Island before dawn this morning, dropping the barometer there to 995.2hPa at 04.10EST and dumping 103.6mm of rain in the gauge between 23.00EST last night and 09.00 this morning. It moved over land to the southwest of the Island soon after, and is expected to head west before moving north back over Gulf waters. The warm waters would then give it energy to develop into a Category 2 Tropical Cyclone. However, its movements and development remain difficult to forecast, so those in the area should continue to monitor Bureau warnings.
The cyclone is expected to cause winds to 100km/h, heavy rain leading to river flooding in Gulf rivers in QLD and Carpentaria coastal rivers in the NT and flash flooding. While rivers in the area are subsiding after recent monsoon rain, catchments are saturated and would respond quickly to additional rainfall. Low barometric pressure will lead to storm surges, but sea levels should stay below the highest tide of the year. Large waves are expected along coastlines.
Some links that may be useful:
- Use the BoM warnings page to find Tropical Cyclone Advices or Warnings, forecast track maps, Severe Weather Warnings and Flood Warnings.
- Radar: in the eastern Gulf, Mornington Island radar is the best while farther west use Gove radar
- For those with a technical knowledge of cyclones, the information from the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre gives considerable detail. However, if it differs from Bureau information, prefer that from the Bureau.
- And ALWAYS check the date and time on warnings to make sure you have the latest version, and that your cache isn't misbehaving.
This ABC News item gave good coverage of the situation current as of earlier this afternoon.
New WA radar the second of three
The second of three new radars located to improve coverage across the WA wheatbelt has come online. Located 30km SE of Kellerberrin and 200km E of Perth, South Doodlakine radar provides continuous rainfall coverage as well as Doppler wind radar. Its images overlap those from the first new WA radar at Newdegate along with radars at Perth, Albany, Esperance and Kalgoorlie to give continuous coverage of the south west of the state, including the central and southern wheatbelt and Great Southern.
A third radar at Watheroo, roughly halfway between Perth and Geraldton, will come online in April 2017. The three new radar installations are part of a $23 million project managed by the Western Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Food, made possible by Royalties for Regions investment. These pages on the Department's website give more details and show just how important good technology like this is to the agriculture sector. The radars are being built and maintained by the Bureau.
The WA department has been a leader in getting good weather information onto the web for primary producers. It manages a dense network of weather stations across the agricultural area of WA. Clicking on a station gives the current weather while an enormous amount of climatic data for that station is available if you click on its name.
Wild storms cause mayhem in eastern NSW
Updated 18/2/17 11.15 Additional rainfall and bushfire details
A broad area of active thunderstorms crossed Sydney and the Central Coast mid to late afternoon blacking out 40,000 properties and causing brief torrential rain, hail and damaging winds. It was part of a 2,500km line of storms that at one point extended from Nowra to Tennant Creek in the NT. ABC News reported that over 40,000 premises, mostly on the Central Coast, lost power from thousands of lightning strikes, heavy hail peppered Penrith in Sydney's west and isolated damage occurred with tree and roof damage.
Some flights at Sydney Airport were cancelled or diverted, while lightning took out signalling equipment on the Northern Line between Wyong and Newcastle. Cessnock Airport in the Hunter Valley reported a wind gust of 109km/h while Terrey Hills in Sydney's far north recorded 33.6mm in 2 hours to 17.40EDT. An unofficial report from Bateau Bay said that 30mm had fallen in 20 minutes which is reasonable given the official Bateau Bay site recorded 28mm for the 24 hours to 9am 18 February. Other heavy 24-hour falls were 50mm at Mona Vale Golf Club and 60mm at Avalon Beach on Sydney's Northern Beaches, and 40mm at Berkeley Vale and 42 at Kangy Angy (Orchard Road) on the Central Coast.
Lightning ignited about 100 new bushfires in the state. A major fire, not necessarily connected with the storm, flared up at Carwoola, 10km east of Queanbeyan, reaching Emergency Warning status and destroying at least 15 properties. As of 21.40EDT it had burnt out over 25 square km.
Australian weather briefs
- Major flooding on the Fitzroy River in the WA Kimberley is necessitating evacuations and aerial food drops to isolated communities and cattle stations as the flooding reaches a peak. Many roads have been cut for weeks or longer, while normal routines have had to be put on hold reports ABC News.
- Also from the ABC, a report on the huge infrastructure damage wrought by extensive flooding at both ends of the state over several months. The WA Road Transport Association says the rain has just made an already badly-maintained road system even worse with the Auditor General in June last year finding that WA had an $845 million road maintenance backlog.With flood peaks continuing to move down streams to the South West Coast, there's at least some good news that disaster relief funding will be available from the Commonwealth and State Governments to assist local councils in beginning the repair jobs.