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Weak tropical cyclone brings copious rain to Gulf coast
The tropical depression that has been circulating in the southern Gulf of Carpentaria finally reached category 1 Tropical Cyclone status this morning. It is heading south and weakening and, according to the BoM Tropical Cyclone Advice issued at 23.05CST, it lay on the southern Gulf coast between Borroloola and the NT/QLD border.
This very slow-moving low cum cyclone has produced gale-force winds close to its centre, but its main feature has been the prodigious rainfall it has delivered to areas along the southern Gulf coast from successive bands of rain and thunderstorms. Centre Island in the SW Gulf has recorded 440.0mm over the 62 hours to 22.00CST this evening. 211.4mm of that fell in the 24 hours to 09.00 today, a record for February in the station's 47-year history. It may exceed even that by the 09.00 reading tomorrow with 145.4mm in the gauge at 22.30CST this evening and the cyclone close by. Morning Island in the SE Gulf has been close to the slow-moving low for nearly a week and has recorded 490.2mm between 09.00EST Wednesday 15 February and 23.00 this evening.
While rain has been very heavy along the coast and immediate inland, it is forecast to push inland over the next few days as the Tropical Cyclone weakens into a rain depression then moves westward. Rain totals of 100-150mm and locally over 200mm are expected to bring flooding across Gulf rivers in QLD and the McArthur and Roper Rivers in the NT.
The cloud and rain around the southern Gulf is making for exceptionally cold days for the tropics. Maximum temperatures have been in the low to mid 20s, between 8 and 12° below average, and look like setting new records for both yesterday and today at Centre Island and Borroloola, which have 40-year climate histories. Some other stations with shorter histories are likely to do the same.
Cold change sets records, brings snow to VIC and NSW Alps
An unusually cold airmass for February swept across SE Australia on Saturday breaking some long-established records for cold nights and bringing several centimetres of snow to Alpine areas. Both day and night temperatures in the eastern half of SA, western and central NSW and most of VIC were 8 to 12° below the February average.
Details of records are in the records sections of the Daily Weather Summaries for yesterday and today. Some notable ones were Mangalore VIC, 100km N of Melbourne, which yesterday broke its record low February minimum of 5.0° which has stood since 1964 with a reading of 4.2°, then today lined up to do it again with a minimum of 3.5°. Longerenong and Tatura (near Shepparton) VIC, each with a half-century climate history, also set new records this morning as did Griffith NSW with a 39-year history.
About 3cm of snow fell at Perisher Valley NSW overnight, enough to paint the scenery a stunning white in bright sunshine this morning. Two to five cm of snow was also reported down to the 1,500m level at Thredbo Village. Snow fell at Mounts Baw Baw, Buller, Hotham and probably most other skifields in the Victorian Alps, with SBS News giving the story good coverage and photos.