What's with the weather?

What's with the weather?
25 Jan, 2012 10:35 AM

It’s a big week in Australian weather with Queensland and northern New South Wales battling floods, while Western Australia contends with a record heatwave and a developing tropical cyclone.

“Torrential rainfall is falling across much of south-east Queensland which has triggered widespread flooding from Noosa to the New South Wales border. From 9am Tuesday to 8am this morning (EDT) Redcliffe has recorded their heaviest rain in over 30 years with 234mm, Brisbane Airport their heaviest rain in 16 years with 167mm and Brisbane city their heaviest rain in at least 13 years with 168mm,” says Tom Saunders, Senior Meteorologist at The Weather Channel.

“Other notable falls include 147mm at Coolangatta, 133mm for the Gold Coast, 84mm at Townsville and 88mm in Cairns,” he continues.

“In northern New South Wales Dorrigo has seen around 400mm of rain during the past three days, leading to major flooding along the Bellinger River,” Saunders continues.

“Torrential rain will continue for at least another 24 hours over south-east Queensland before easing off slightly later in the week but a separate weather system will bring heavy rain and flooding to western Queensland over the weekend,” says Saunders.

“For the coastal regions of northern New South Wales heavy rain will continue for at least another 24 hours before easing off later in the week but similar to Queensland a separate weather system will bring heavy rain and flooding to western New South Wales over the weekend.”

“In Queensland there is a key difference between this flood event and last summer’s. This time around the rain is heaviest along the coastal fringe, so most of the flooding is occurring along the smaller coastal creeks and rivers of south-east Queensland. Last year the rain was further inland, including the Wivenhoe catchment and therefore the flooding affected the larger rivers flowing east from the ranges.”

“The rain is relentless and may continue over eastern Australia well into next week. This flood event is typical of a La Niña summer with above average rainfall covering most of the country – similar to the 2010/2011 event.”

In complete contrast, on the other side of the country the absence of rain has made way for a heatwave.

“Perth has commenced its hottest week on record. Today marks day two of an unprecedented heatwave for Perth as hot easterly winds prevail over the west coast. The city should bake through at least eight consecutive days with a maximum of around 40˚C, easily breaking temperature records over 100 years old. There are currently no indications of when a cool change will arrive.”

“Adding to the drama we are also closely monitoring a tropical low off the Western Australian north coast. The system should intensify into a tropical cyclone today but it’s still too early to make a call on whether or not the cyclone will directly impact the coast,” he concludes.


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