Three months rain in one week due
Australia's east coast has copped its heaviest drenching in years as a major weather system causes flash flooding and strong winds, with dangerous conditions to continue well into next week.
Sydney has had its wettest period since March last year with almost 58mm falling on the CBD overnight. More rain has fallen in a few hours than has fallen in the last three months combined. If the rain continues in Sydney, and it shows no signs of abating, it could be the wettest day for years.
If the Bureau of Meteorology's upper rain forecast is correct, Sydney could see just shy of 400mm of rain over the next week. That's more than three months worth of rainfall in a single week.
Over the past 48 hours parts of southeast Queensland and northeast NSW have received hundreds of millimetres of rain, with forecasters predicting another 100-300mm to fall over the next eight days.
By early this morning, Cape Byron - the easternmost point of mainland Australia - had received more than 300mm, Maryborough on Queensland's Fraser Coast had received 183mm and the Brisbane CBD 180mm.
"We're only about half way through this event," said Sky News Weather Chief Meteorologist Tom Saunders.
Flash flooding could affect the NSW central and south coast as the heaviest rain shifts south although heavy falls will continue for the north coast.
"Heavy rain resulting in flash flooding along the coast is a real possibility," NSW SES Deputy Commissioner Daniel Austin said earlier this week.
"Flash flooding is incredibly dangerous. I'm urging motorists, please stay safe on the roads - pull over if the rain becomes too heavy or if you can no longer see where you are going. Make safe decisions and never enter floodwaters."
This week brings a high risk of flooding especially in coastal areas - but do you know what a flood actually is? Read this to better understand what a flood is and what our warning messages are all about: https://t.co/LGE3GvKiEt Current Flood Watch: https://t.co/AsWJ6KbrEY pic.twitter.com/TZZ2JvZvWV— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) February 6, 2020
In Brisbane, where many suburbs picked up over 100mm of rain yesterday, heavy rain will continue for the next few days.
"In NSW the heaviest rain is shifting south down the coast as a trough also dips down the coast, so the risk of flash flooding on Saturday will mostly be confined to the central and southern coast but still heavy falls continuing for the north coast of NSW."
Many suburbs in Brisbane picked up over 100mm of rain on Thursday. While conditions eased over night, they can still expect heavy rain over the next few days.
"Over the next eight days we expect 100-300mm on top of what we've already had on the NSW coast, up to around 50-100mm for the top of the Ranges and then less than 50mm west of the Ranges," Saunders said.
"Flood watches are in place from Caboolture in southeast Queensland down right down to central NSW coast, and parts of Sydney could see minor river flooding over the next couple of days."
As the humid easterly pumps moisture into Queensland, a trough into the west is pushing showers down as far as Victoria and even part of South Australia.
Meanwhile, tropical cyclone Damien is due to make landfall in Western Australia's northwest Pilbara region some time over the weekend, with heavy rainfall and flooding expected.
"Over 100mm is likely and we could see up to 300mm in some areas, and that will lead to flooding," Saunders said.
Sydney is heading for a maximum of 23 degrees on Friday, Melbourne 26, Brisbane 29, Perth 30, Adelaide 31, Hobart 20, Canberra 23 and Darwin 34.