A huge amount of rain is set to hit Australia.
THE low pressure system promising to dump a month’s worth of rain in just a few days has begun to make its presence felt. And in some areas it’s even worse than expected.
By Thursday morning, Bowen in northern Queensland had already seen almost double its monthly rainfall in just a single day. In some places a whopping 400mm of rain could fall.
Brisbane is next in the firing line.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has issued severe weather warnings for heavy rain and possible flash flooding for parts of Victoria and Queensland. South west Western Australia is also expected to cop a drenching.
The worst of the rain is expected to spread southward towards Brisbane in the next 24 hours before heading into NSW with Saturday being the wettest day in Sydney.
“The rain event has commenced as predicted for the past week,” Sky News Weather meteorologist Tom Saunders told news.com.au.
“The low is behaving as forecast, however this event has many ingredients including moist infeed from the north, an upper low, a surface low and coastal trough.”
The low pressure system bringing the soggy conditions is slowly creeping up on the entire eastern seaboard from the west with peak downpours between Thursday and Saturday.
On Thursday, the heavens began to open over central and northern Queensland, areas already sodden by Cyclone Debbie. But the recent cyclone may still beat the current system in terms of the sheer amount of water dumped.
— BOM Queensland (@BOM_Qld) May 17, 2017
“The heaviest rain is currently over the Lower Burdekin, Central Coast and Capricornia extending inland to the eastern Goldfields,” said Mr Saunders.
“Over the next 36 hours this region will see widespread falls of 100 to 200mm with localised falls of up to 400mm.”
In the 24 hours to 9am, Townsville had seen 39mm of rain, exceeding its usual rainfall for the entire month of May which is only 32mm.
Bowen saw 73mm of rain, almost twice its monthly average while Hamilton Island copped it even worse with 86mm of precipitation.
The BoM has issued a flood watch for costal catchments from Cairns to Gladstone, including Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton.
Scott Williams, from the Bureau’s extreme weather desk, said it was an “impressive rain system” and the sheer size of the band made this a “huge weather event”.
“It’s unusual to get a band that extends right across the country this late outside of the traditional wet season,” he said.
After passing over Brisbane, the centre of the trough will head over inland NSW and western Victoria before hitting northern Tasmania.
While Sydney and Melbourne are unlikely to have rainfall totals as high as elsewhere, that doesn’t mean the capitals will escape a drenching.
“For Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra the rain event will peak on Friday and Saturday,” said Mr Saunders.
“The risk of localised flooding here will mainly be with heavy falls associated with thunderstorms as opposed to the widespread heavy rain and flooding over tropical Queensland”.
WHEN WILL THE RAIN HIT?
On Thursday, a swath of Queensland from the tropical North all the way to Gladstone are in the eye of the rain event with 100mm to 200mm falling and even up to 400mm in some isolated areas. A flood watch is in place for much of the coast and inland areas.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast
Bring your brolley Brisbane. Heavy rain and thunderstorms are expected in the state’s south east on Friday as the band rolls in. Up to 75mm of rainfall is forecast.
The slow moving trough is expected to move into NSW from late Friday. Storms in the north and west of the state could bring 100mm of rain in some areas, while west of the Divide 30mm — 50mm can be expected.
Don’t let the sun on Thursday fool you. Sporadic showers will begin to sweep in on Friday. But Saturday is likely to be the wettest day in the harbour city with a 95 per cent chance of the skies opening. However, the total amount of rain is likely to be less than further inland at about 20mm.
— BOM New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) May 18, 2017
A partly cloudy day on Thursday will give way to a chilly 14C on Friday and an almost certain chance of a drenching from late afternoon or evening. The rain will continue into Saturday with the mercury creeping back up to 17C.
Melbourne and regional Victoria
Thunderstorms are possible across the north west late on Thursday and into Friday, with falls ranging from 30 to 50mm, the BoM forecasts.
A weather warning for flash flooding is in place from Swan Hill to Bendigo and Hamilton.
Melbourne will be sunny on Thursday but rain will develop from Friday afternoon. Between 5 — 20mm could fall across the city and the state’s south west.
The Bureau expects to issue a Flood Watch for all of northern Tasmania’s river basins on Thursday. Rainfall in the northern parts of the state looks set to get 30 to 50mm and there could be some falls in the 80 to 100mm range on higher ground.
Light showers will give way to a grey day in Hobart on Friday and then showers and 17C on Saturday.
South Australia will escape the worst of the rain but expect intermittent showers for the next few days with highs of about 19C.
Perth and south west Western Australia
A sunny day in Perth on Thursday, with temperatures reaching 25C, will give way to a few showers and highs dropping to 18C by Saturday.
But it’s further south where the moisture will be most keenly felt. A series of cold fronts will bring much-needed rain into the south west of the state from Thursday. Rainfall totals of 50mm are possible during the event.
The best place to escape the rain, it’s looking like 33C and sunny all weekend.