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23 11, 2017

November heat records broken across SE AUS

Over the past week, South-Eastern Australia and in particular the 3 main cities of Melbourne, Adelaide and Hobart have copped one of the most vigorous stretches of heat ever to sweep through during Spring (November). 

 

Melbourne: Melbourne City had never recorded 6+ straight days of 28ºc+ during Spring in its 162 years of weather data.. during this week this is highly likely to be smashed as the city recorded its 6th straight day above 28ºc today and its likely to reach 33ºc during Friday and then 30ºc on Saturday making it 8 straight days and beating the previous record of 5 straight set in 2009 and 1896. 

The past 6 days (including today) have seen temperatures of 28.1ºc, 29.3ºc, 30.8ºc, 32.8ºc, 32.3ºc & 29.7ºc. This run of heat has allowed large parts of Victoria to experience thunderstorms on various days with the weekend just gone seeing some of the more severe cells (especially through Greater Melbourne). Typically Melbourne averages 22ºc this time of year.

Forecast maximums for VIC via OCF for Saturday, November 25th

Forecast maximums for VIC via OCF for Saturday, November 25th

 


Hobart: Hobart has not experienced a run of 6 straight days above 25ºc in ANY MONTH since 1890 (127 years) and specifically in November since 1881 (136 years). Over the last 5 days, Hobart’s maximum has reached: 29.8ºc, 27.5ºc, 26.6ºc, 29.3ºc and 31.5ºc… as of 1pm Thursday (the 6th day in the run) Hobart had climbed to a very warm 30.6ºc. 

Hobart is expected to remain well above average over the next few days and could extend this run of 6 straight days to 9 straight days, but thats highly dependant on Friday which is forecast to reach 25ºc with up to 28ºc just North of Hobart. Saturday and Sunday should see temps into the high 20’s.

Adelaide: Adelaide had one of the more obscure records out of the bunch, but the City of Churches had only once recorded a 72hr+ period (3 straight nights) of 24ºc+ in Spring. This was matched this week when Adelaide could only manage minimums of 24.2ºc, 25.4ºc and 26.5ºc (granted the majority of all of these nights was spent at 28ºc+ also). The only other time this occurred in the last 130 years was October 30 to November 1 1987

 

Forecast maximum for Tasmania on Friday, November 24th via OCF

Forecast maximum for Tasmania on Friday, November 24th via OCF

21 11, 2017

Heat lingers for Adelaide and parts of SA!

Adelaide is yet another city added to the list of 130 year old feats being challenged as the Spring heat lingers in the City of Churches. Above image via OCF / BSCH for Wednesday (maximum temperatures).

 

Adelaide has seen some stifling temperatures over the past few days where the City recorded 31.8ºc on Sunday, 34.8ºc on Monday and 35.3ºc today (Tuesday). These temperatures aren’t exactly farfetched when just a week ago Adelaide endured 3 straight days which were hotter. Its the minimums however that could set the benchmark this time.

Adelaide is forecast drop down to around 23ºc tonight (Tuesday night / Wednesday morning). If the temperature was to stay above 23.5ºc which it has every chance of doing… then it will only be the second time in 130 years of records that the temperature has failed to drop below 23.5ºc for a 72 hour period. Monday’s minimum of 24.2ºc and last nights minimum of 25.4ºc have set the benchmark for tonight. 

 

To make matters worse… Adelaide was sitting on 28.8ºc at midnight last night. This is hotter than Sydney has been since October 30th and hotter than Brisbane has been since November 5th (which is even more impressive since Brisbane averages 28.2ºc for November).

The heat should linger across Wednesday in Adelaide and the majority of Eastern South Australia where maximums could reach the mid 30’s again, before a cooler change moves through on Thursday and conditions ease.

Forecast Maximums for South-Eastern SA tonight via OCF / BSCH

Forecast Maximums for South-Eastern SA tonight via OCF / BSCH

 

21 11, 2017

Record breaking Heat coming to Melbourne

Melbourne and Victoria are expected to see a spell of heat which is highly likely going to break records including the all-time November record and this is all thanks to a large high in the Tasman.

 

 

A large high pressure system which has been near-stationary over the Tasman Sea for a while now, is expected to move slightly East over today and the next few days (Tuesday to Friday). As it moves East, the North to North-Easterly winds over Victoria as a whole are expected to shift more towards the North and possibly North-West and this is only expected to see the temperature increase!

 

 

Melbourne’s records date back to 1855, and in that time the City has NOT recorded 7 straight days of 28ºc+ in November. Well, barring an absolute blunder by every forecast model… thats about to change. The last 4 days (including today) have recorded 28ºc+ – Saturday (28.1ºc), Sunday (29ºc), Monday (31ºc) and already before midday on Tuesday its 29.3ºc. The next 3 days are expected to climb into the low 30’s with some models even hinting at the mid 30’s. This covers out until Friday which will be the 7th day. Saturday is also going for 28ºc but this has a lot of variance involved as a weak change is expected to move through… if it comes through earlier it may only reach 25ºc, if it comes through later it could reach 30-32ºc. This is well above the 22ºc average for November.. and granted this is likely to come off, Melbourne will have seen 11 of the last 13 days and nights at 5ºc or more above average.

 

Current forecast maximums via OCF/BSCHfor Saturday, November 25th - this may give Melbourne an 8th straight day above 28ºc.

Current forecast maximums via OCF/BSCHfor Saturday, November 25th – this may give Melbourne an 8th straight day above 28ºc.

 

 

Its not just Melbourne suffering through this heatwave, with large parts of VIC and Tasmania expected to be scorching into the low to mid 30’s over the next few days and some have already seen it over the weekend just gone. 

 

Temperature anomaly for Thursday via PivotalWeather showing widespread 8ºc+ above average across VIC

Temperature anomaly for Thursday via PivotalWeather showing widespread 8ºc+ above average across VIC


 

20 11, 2017

Significant Heatwave expected for Tasmania

Its not often that Tasmania becomes the focal point for heatwave potential over Australia however a high pressure region is expected to give Hobart a potentially record breaking heatwave, along with Tasmania in general. Above image via OCF (Forecast maximums for Wednesday).

 

A large high has been anchored over the Tasman Sea for the last few days, this high is expected to finally drift fractionally East which will allow warmer Northerly winds to flow into Tasmania producing well above average temperatures. Hobart typically averages 19ºc as a maximum during November with minimums at 9ºc, Launceston is similar only the maximums are averaged at 20ºc.

Over the past week maximums have lingered mostly around 4-7ºc above average for the majority of Tasmania with the odd day creeping up towards 30ºc which is around 10ºc above average, however over the next few days, maximums are likely to reach 27-32ºc across the majority of the State which is in the vicinity of 8-14ºc above average while overnight minimums remain well above average in the South.

 

BOM Heatwave pilot showing a severe heatwave for Tuesday to Thursday across TAS

BOM Heatwave pilot showing a severe heatwave for Tuesday to Thursday across TAS

 

 

If Hobart sees 27ºc+ over the next few days (which is highly likely given forecasts indicate 29ºc on Monday and Tuesday, 30ºc on Wednesday and 31ºc on Thursday) then this will be the first time in ANY MONTH that 27ºc+ has been recorded on 6 consecutive days since 1890 (127 years) and the first time in November that its happened in 136 years. Places like Launceston and the Northern half of the State could see 7+ days straight of 27ºc starting from today (Monday, 20/11/17).  

So even if it seems tame for most people, its obviously quite significant for Tasmania who are used to a more tame climate even in Summer. Models are even indicating that after a brief “cool” down which is still potentially 3-6ºc above average, another wave of prolonged heat may impact the State for a further week.

 

 

 

 

7 11, 2017

Volatile Weather to strike NZ!

Large parts of New Zealand are about to experience widespread severe weather as a low and associated trough move across the Country! Above image: Wind gusts via WindyTV for Midnight Wednesday (aqua >90km/h, purple >125km/h).

 

A deepening low pressure system with a pressure of around 975-980hpa (equivalent of a Category 2 Cyclone in the tropics), is expected to cross the South Island of New Zealand late on Tuesday and during the overnight hours into Wednesday. This low is expected to have a trough associated with it which will stretch back towards the North and North-West, covering the North Island and this should also move through overnight Tuesday into Wednesday bringing its own severe weather.

Severe Weather Outlook via the NZ Metservice

Severe Weather Outlook via the NZ Metservice

 

The South Island and Cook Strait / Wellington are forecast to cop the worst of the weather. Winds across Cook Strait are likely going to exceed the destructive criteria of 125km/h and will likely nudge 150km/h in some areas. Widespread wind gusts of 90-130km/h are likely over the majority of the South Island also – starting during the evening over the Alps and spreading to the East Coast overnight into Wednesday. These kinds of winds can cause widespread damage to trees, power and property. Heavy rainfall is also likely with falls of 100mm+ likely over parts of the South Island and localised falls of up to 150-180mm forecast. These kinds of falls could cause localised flash flooding and localised river and creek rises which may exceed flood levels. 

 

Forecast Rainfall via GFS / BSCH

Forecast Rainfall via GFS / BSCH

 

Heavy snow is also forecast both overnight Tuesday into Wednesday and throughout Wednesdays. Snow is forecast to fall to as low as 200m over Southern parts of the South Island, with heavy snow likely down to as low as 400m! Snowfall accumulations are expected to likely to exceed 50cm for many parts of the Alps, with up to 100cm possible in some parts. Snow is also likely in elevated parts of towns such as Canterbury, Otago and surrounds.

 

"Forecast

 

3 11, 2017

Rain and Storms set for NSW

Issued 2pm Friday, November 3rd 2017. NSW is about to see a return to showers, rain areas and thunderstorms over the next handful of days as a new low pressure system and associated trough move through the State. Above image – 4 day rainfall forecast via BOM from Friday to Monday 10pm

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During Saturday thunderstorms are likely across the North-Eastern quarter of the State with some possibly severe. The main focus area is expected to be North of Port Macquarie and along / East of the Ranges as a weak change moves through. During Sunday, thunderstorms are expected to become more widely scattered across the Northern half of the State as an upper trough moves overhead. Thunderstorms themselves aren’t expected to be anymore severe than those on Saturday, but just covering a larger area. 

Rainfall map for 4pm via WindyTV (EC Model) with hand-drawn thunderstorm potential overlay (Orange being Saturday, purple being Sunday).

Rainfall map for 4pm via WindyTV (EC Model) with hand-drawn thunderstorm potential overlay (Orange being Saturday, purple being Sunday).

 

 

The main focus for severe weather at this stage is during Monday where heavyweight models are currently in full agreement on a low pressure system and trough impacting the State bringing widespread rain and storms. The trough is expected to be associated with the low and is likely to be positioned across the North-Eastern quarter of the State during the afternoon, leading to widespread moderate to strong instability developing over areas North of Sydney / Newcastle and East of Mudgee / Moree. This will likely lead to scattered storms developing with some likely to become severe – especially along the trough. 

Computer generated thunderstorm forecast potential for NSW on Monday via BSCH

Computer generated thunderstorm forecast potential for NSW on Monday via BSCH

 

The low however is expected to move through Northern districts in the morning and exiting off the Central Coast in the afternoon / evening. Rain areas are likely to surround the Low and this will likely lead to widespread falls of 20-40mm across the Eastern half of the State and isolated to scattered higher falls around the Central and Southern Coast’s of NSW (where the low moves offshore and the onshore winds linger). As the low moves away on Tuesday, showers will weaken gradually, but strong winds along the NSW Coast and hazardous seas are both possible. 

Forecast 5 day rainfall via GFS / BSCH for NSW

Forecast 5 day rainfall via GFS / BSCH for NSW

 

28 10, 2017

Hail – The Science Behind It

Hail is a phenomenon which generally depicts an intense or severe thunderstorm. When people see hail, they usually immediately think that the thunderstorm is one of intensity. How does a hailstone develop though, and whats the difference between say pea size hail and golf ball or even baseball size hail?

 

 How does hail occur: It starts at the surface. Warm inflow air is being pulled into the storm. As we all know, warm air rises, and thats exactly what happens within the thunderstorm as that warm air gets caught in the updraft. When the air passes the freezing level, which in storms is typically between 9,000 and 12,000ft, the water molecules then begin to freeze. This then forms ice, and as the ice remains in the cloud, other water molecules or droplets interact with the ice, they attach themselves and a chain reaction occurs that leads to larger ice. The ice then falls when the updraft cant support its weight anymore and then it becomes what we know as hail.

The dynamics of a thunderstorm from the overshooting top, to the interaction between warm and cold air within the storm. Hail becomes caught in the warm updraft and becomes suspended in the mid to upper level layers of the storm

The dynamics of a thunderstorm from the overshooting top, to the interaction between warm and cold air within the storm. Hail becomes caught in the warm updraft and becomes suspended in the mid to upper level layers of the storm

 

A fun fact: If you cut a hailstone in half, it may have concentric circles like a tree. These circles dont tell you how old the hail was, but more or less how many times it cycled within the thunderstorm – each white line is a new freeze. Hail can cycle 5-10 or even more times before eventually falling.

hail_forecast

The cross-section of a hailstone – the white lines represent a new cycle within the thunderstorm updraft

 

 

What size hail is considered severe:
The criteria for hail to become warned within thunderstorms is 2cm, or if its an immense amount of small hail (under 2cm) it can be warned as hail accumulation – where the total weight may become damaging to roof structures.

 
Updraft speeds vs hail size:
 Hail size has been linked directly to the speed of the thunderstorms updraft. The stronger the updraft, the longer the hail can be suspended and allowed to grow. Here are some of the speeds at which certain size hail occurs

  • Pea size hail (0.5cm): 56km/h

  • Quarter size hail (2.5cm): 79km/h

  • Golf ball size hail (4.4cm): 103km/h

  • Baseball size hail (7cm): 130km/h

  • Tea cup size hail (7.6cm): 136km/h

  • Softball size hail (10-11.5cm): 165km/h

  • Largest stone ever (8 inches – 20.3cm): 246km/h

     

While deaths from hail are very uncommon, they do occur. Severe injury is also certainly something that can happen and in fact does occur quite a lot, especially during dangerous storms that contain massive hail. So remember to stay alert, and more importantly – stay indoors away from windows during storms.

 

 

21 10, 2017

Central QLD Rain Summary

Central QLD (mostly across the Capricornia) has seen some of the most significant October rain in living memory after a 48hr deluge smashed records! Above image via BOM

 

 

SUMMARY: Showers and isolated storms across Sunday (October 16th) produce reasonable falls across the region (the region for this blog being Mackay / Bowen to Hervey Bay). The heaviest falls came from around Bundaberg where some partially stationary activity produced more than 100mm. During Monday and Tuesday, the heavens let loose, with moderate to heavy rain areas lashing the majority of the Bundaberg to Yeppoon region.. it started between Gladstone and Bundaberg where heavy falls and stationary storms produced phenomenal amounts of rain, this then slowly moved into Gladstone in the early hours of Tuesday and Rockhampton / Yeppoon during Tuesday whilst still lashing the Miriam Vale, 1770 region. Several stationary storms were identified, and these produced record breaking phenomenal amounts of rainfall across the region.

 

Very dangerous thunderstorm over Turkey Beach and extending towards Miriam Vale. Warning at the time issued by BOM for extremely heavy rainfall. Local reports came in after of 350mm in 6hrs at Turkey Beach. Image via Weatherzone

Very dangerous thunderstorm over Turkey Beach and extending towards Miriam Vale. Warning at the time issued by BOM for extremely heavy rainfall. Local reports came in after of 350mm in 6hrs at Turkey Beach. Image via Weatherzone

 

STATS:
There were 642 official rainfall gauges in the region, most of which were quiet due to the Central Coast & Whitsundays somewhat completely missing the rain event… of those 642 gauges though…
• 94 recorded 200mm+
• 44 recorded 300mm+
• 23 recorded 400mm+
• 5 recorded 500mm+ 

Out of the 5 that recorded more than 500mm across the rain event… Bulburin topped all of them with an incredibly 743mm, Makowata not so closely followed with 644mm, Miriam Vale 549mm, Westwood Range 542mm and Springfield 505mm. Its worth noting that SEVERAL unofficial reports of more 600-750mm around Miriam Vale were sent into the page and into local Facebook groups. 

Across the days…
• 138 towns recorded at least 100mm in a single day
• 24 of those towns recorded at least 200mm
• 3 of those recorded at least 300mm
• and a town (Bulburin) recorded more than 400mm in a single 24hr period

Again, its worth noting that there were SEVERAL reports coming out of the Miriam Vale region of 400mm+ in a 24hr period. Its also worth noting that there are no official gauges at Turkey Beach, however there were dozens of reports sent into the page of people recording more than 300-350mm in 6hrs with their gauges overflowing!

Its also worth acknowledging Miriam Vale as the only town to record back to back 200mm days (268, 228), and Bulburin was the only town to record a 100mm treble (142, 479, 106).

 

Kolan River at Bucca, via Phillip Rickard

Kolan River at Bucca, via Phillip Rickard

 

 

Inundation caused by flooding at Mount Maria, near Baffle Creek via Sonja and Chris Cooper

Inundation caused by flooding at Mount Maria, near Baffle Creek via Sonja and Chris Cooper

Monduran Dam Spillway (Kolan River) via Steve Bechly

Monduran Dam Spillway (Kolan River) via Steve Bechly

 

Granted, the Bureau of Meteorology is analysing the data out of Makowata and Bulburin to 100% undoubtedly confirm the extreme rainfall totals (this is just a precaution and happens all of the time). However, if these totals were to stand. Bulburin will have the 2nd highest October daily rainfall in history for Australia (behind Pacific Heights, QLD in 1914 – 551mm). Makowata (389mm) will have the 8th highest for QLD in history and just outside the top 10 for Australia.

Weekly Rainfall to Saturday October 21st 2017 via BOM

Weekly Rainfall to Saturday October 21st 2017 via BOM

The phenomenal rainfall broke numerous records across the region, which isn’t that surprising. It also lead Bundaberg to recording its 3rd 100mm day and the heaviest rainfall for the month – both since January 2013. Its also a record breaking month for Bundaberg, almost doubling the previous record! The rainfall also lead to significant flooding, with many rivers and creeks around the Kolan River, Baffle Creek and Lake Monduran. People were evacuated due to the flooding around Baffle Creek as levels neared record breaking proportions. Thankfully the flooding has since subsided back to minor flood levels and continuing to ease. 

 

River Flooding map via BOM (valid 11:15am, October 18th 2017)

River Flooding map via BOM (valid 11:15am, October 18th 2017)

 

Eidsvold Station Bridge, Eidsvold via Sharaina Lehu Mafua

Eidsvold Station Bridge, Eidsvold via Sharaina Lehu Mafua

Littabella Creek Crossing, Rosedale Road North-West of Bundaberg via Maria Achurch

Littabella Creek Crossing, Rosedale Road North-West of Bundaberg via Maria Achurch

21 10, 2017

Super Typhoon Lan on track for Japan!

Super Typhoon Lan has rapidly intensified into the strongest Typhoon of 2017 as its barrels towards Japan where impacts are expected within the next 36hrs! Above image via Real Earth.

Over the past 24-48hrs, Lan entered a very favourable environment with very warm sea surface temperatures and near non-existent vertical wind shear. This allowed the system to undergo rapid intensification. Its typical of systems with huge eye’s to take a slower but more consistent intensification process…. Lan has been different though, with the winds in the system intensifying from 85kts (160km/h) to 135kts (250km/h) in just 24hrs, wind gusts now exceed 310km/h are the central pressure is nearing the 900 mark! The most impressive feature however is the incredibly big eye, which now spans 92km wide (50nm)! 

Forecast track via JTWC

Forecast track via JTWC

Lan is expected to mellow out over the next 24hrs and maintain its current strength over open waters, East of the Islands between Southern Japan and Taiwan as it continues on a Northerly track towards Japan. During this track, its expected to not directly impact any islands, however due to the overall size of Lan, its effects will be somewhat felt through squally winds, heavy rain and rough seas.

During Sunday, Lan’s impacts should start to be felt over Southern Japan as the system begins to approach the Country. During Monday, its expected landfall will either occur over Eastern Japan, or the system will come narrowly close to the region (but not make landfall)…. models are still unsure about the final path. Regardless, damaging winds to possibly destructive winds along the Coast and highlands, heavy to torrential rain leading to flooding and land/mudslides and dangerous seas / dangerous storm surge are all expected. THANKFULLY… Lan is expected to enter a very unfavourable environment near Japan and this will allow the system to undergo a rapid weakening phase. This shouldnt be taken lightly though, because if Lan was to make landfall, he may still be a Category 3 or if the region is lucky… a Category 2. 

Forecast 6 day rainfall via WindyTV (pink/red over 100mm, purple over 500mm)

Forecast 6 day rainfall via WindyTV (pink/red over 100mm, purple over 500mm)

 

 

 

18 10, 2017

South-East QLD Rainfall Wrap Up

Issued 2pm Wednesday, October 18th 2017. Over the past 4 to 5 days, South-East QLD has seen some of its best rainfall since not only Cyclone Debbie back in March, but for some… daily totals have been the best this year along with monthly records being broken on the Sunshine Coast! Above image: Eumundi cracking 200mm on the Sunshine Coast in 24hrs via BOM

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SUMMARY: In the lead up to the weekend, forecasts were indicating totals of 50-150mm across South-East QLD and that meant that most places were expecting to see falls of at least triple digits. The rainfall began slowly on Saturday with most places seeing light rain as the trough lingered over North-Eastern NSW. It wasn’t until late on Saturday that rainfall totals started to climb with 6 locations receiving more than 100mm overnight into Sunday. Rain areas then lingered through Sunday and intensified across Monday with the Sunshine Coast as the surface trough deepened. We (Higgins Storm Chasing) showed the “potential for up to” 500mm if a stationary cell wanted to develop, as the atmospheric conditions were ideal for such a total to occur. This occurrence tried exceptionally hard over the Tewantin / Gympie / Sunshine Coast region during Sunday night and across Monday and this lead to more than 30 locations seeing at least 100mm in the 24hrs to 9am Tuesday, with Eumundi scoring more than 200mm! While rain areas eased across areas South of the Sunshine Coast on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning… good rain areas continued over the Sunshine Coast with scattered falls of 50mm+ occurring and isolated falls of 100mm+.

Waterfalls coming down Mt Coolum on the Sunshine Coast yesterday (Tuesday, October 17th) via Mike Wykes

Waterfalls coming down Mt Coolum on the Sunshine Coast yesterday (Tuesday, October 17th) via Mike Wykes

 

So how accurate was the forecast, and how did you do? Keeping in mind these are official totals, with many unofficial local gauges actually recording more than the official gauges. 

Now for the mathy, technical, jibber jabber which is important because it proves accuracy. 

There were 588 gauges across South-East QLD and the Wide Bay that recorded something over the last 4 days, of those 588 gauges…
• 505 (>85%) recorded 50mm+ (the bare minimum on forecasts leading up to the event)

• 305 (51.8%) recorded 100mm+
• 158 (26.8%) recorded 150mm+
• 85 recorded 200mm+, and incredibly…
• 24 recorded 300mm+!

 

24hr Rainfall Forecast via the HSC Premium Members. To gain access to accurate, high definition, high detail maps like this one - CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

24hr Rainfall Forecast via the HSC Premium Members. To gain access to accurate, high definition, high detail maps like this one – CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

 

At least 54 locations saw more than 100mm in a 24hr period, 6 of those locations recorded at least 2 days of 100mm+, and incredibly… there were 2 locations (Eumundi and Upper Springbrook) that scored more than 200mm in a day (plus Ball Lookout which had 199mm).

Aside from Upper Springbrook, the bulk of the rainfall came over the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay regions. The top 10 totals were:

• Eumundi 428mm (not far off the 500mm potential)
• Upper Springbrook 411mm
• Ball Lookout 369mm
• Delaneys Creek 367mm
• Cooroy 364mm
• Cooloolabin Dam 362mm
• Mapleton 355mm
• Mount Tinbeerwah 354mm
• Lake Macdonald Dam 350mm
• Mt Mee 345mm

Twin Falls, Springbrook via Eleanor Malinavitilevu

Twin Falls, Springbrook via Eleanor Malinavitilevu

While we can understand many people being disappointed with the rainfall as major metropolitan areas such as Greater Brisbane, Greater Ipswich and the Gold Coast (outside of the Hinterland) struggled to reach expectations, a lot of these places still technically received more than 50-100mm, with places like Archerfield’s 78mm to 9am Monday was the heaviest 24hr rainfall in October in 35 years. Brisbane CBD had its wettest 48hrs since Cyclone Debbie, and Ipswich its wettest 24hrs since Debbie. So let us know, how did you go with the rain?