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2 02, 2019

Rainfall Summary for February 2nd 2019 – Townsville Flood Event

Over the past 24 hours we’ve seen more areas hit the 300mm mark across the Greater Townsville region, leading to 6 day accumulative totals well and truly starting to become widespread in excess of 750mm and scattered over 900mm! The promising thing from the entire event now is that widespread good falls are starting to accumulate across Northern Inland and North West QLD following some station records over the past few days. Above image showing the severe flash flooding at Mt Margaret which prompted an emergency alert Saturday morning. Image via Josh Dodd

 

Across North QLD the heaviest falls were once again in the Greater Townsville region:
• Woolshed 369mm
• Mt Margaret 363mm
• Saunders Creek 346mm
• Stony Creek 328mm
• Deeragun 316mm
• Texas Road 287mm
• Dalrymple Road 283mm
• Mt Bohle 274mm
• Black River 273mm
• Little Bohle River 271mm
• Paluma 261mm
• Upper Black River 259mm
• Bushland Beach 240mm
• The Pinnacles 237mm
• Rollingstone 199mm

Greater Townsville Rainfall via BOM in the 24hrs to 9am Saturday

 

 

6 day rainfall totals across the region (22 locations in excess of 900mm now, 7 locations in excess of 1000mm):
• Paluma 1384mm
• Woolshed 1354mm (941mm in 3 days)
• Paluma Alert 1297mm
• Sandy Plateau 1282mm
• Upper Black River 1246mm
• Mt Margaret 1160mm
• Rollingstone 1040mm
• Saunders Creek 983mm

Notes:
• Woolshed has now recorded 4 straight 200mm days and 3 straight days of 286mm or more
• Upper Bluewater, Paluma, Rollingstone have all recorded 6 straight days in excess of 100mm
• Multiple locations have recorded 2 or 3 straight days of 200mm+ and back to back 300mm days

Across the North West and Northern Inland QLD we’ve seen some phenomenal rainfall including Cloncurry breaking its Airport record. The old town gauge has a higher February daily total, however the Airport which takes the current data for Cloncurry broke its February record. Mt Isa also recorded its wettest day in 18 years!
• Cloncurry 178mm  -New Airport record for February
• Doughboy Creek 148mm
• May Downs 130mm
• Mt Isa 123mm – Highest daily total since February 2001!
• Julius Dam 107mm (257mm in 2 days)
• Trepell 104mm
• Richmond 73mm (328mm in 5 days)
• Normanton 70mm

24hr Rainfall across Northern QLD via BOM

 

1 02, 2019

Ross River Dam Breaks Its Record!

The Ross River Dam as of Friday, February 1st 2019, has officially broken its record height. Overnight, the dam was sitting just below record levels, but after another burst of excessive rainfall over a few hours this morning directly over the catchment area – dam levels quickly rose again to the tune of 24cm (just under 1 foot) in less than 2 hours – thats while water is being released. Above image showing Ross River Dam on January 31st by Brooks Steff.

 

Ross River Dam Height via BOM

 

 

 

This excessive rainfall pushed the overall total up to 40.97m, and since then the dam has now risen further to 41.11m as of 10:27am this morning. This has smashed the previous record of 40.73m set back in March of 2012. This extra meterage so to speak has also activated “Stand Up 2” in the Ross River Dam Emergency Action Plan conducted by Sunwater. What “Stand Up 2” represents is accelerated gate opening – essentially the gates have now been opened further. What this will end up doing is easing pressure which is now being put on the dam from the excessive amount of water that is flowing into it from various sources as well as rainfall directly over the catchment. The critical mark that is idealistically avoided is 43.6m. Gates become fully  (100%) open at 42.5m, however 43.6m is the critical level that is trying to be avoided – the need to avoid that level may lead to further downstream flooding over the next several days – please be understanding of that situation.

 

Emergency Plan Stages via Sunwater for the Ross River Dam

 

 

 

In the short term, this is likely to accelerate the flooding downstream, as the water being released is required to be released so that the longer term effects aren’t as drastic. Places like Aplin Weir as a result of this surged to 2.01m this morning but have since dropped back down to 1.81m. This broke the Aplin Weir record of 1.77m!  We are also now seeing increased major flooding over the Bohle River where flood levels have hit 7.45m and still rising at a 45º angle. This will likely make the level exceed the February 2007 mark of 7.55m today (potentially in the next few hours), however there is still a bit to go before the January 1998 level is nudged (8.23m).

 

 

Aplins weir is a bit crazy today!

Posted by Shi-Anne Marshall on Thursday, 31 January 2019

1 02, 2019

Multiple locations break 1m rainfall totals after 5 days!

Another day of excessive rainfall has occurred over the North QLD region between Cardwell and Bowen as well as North of Mackay over Central QLD as the monsoon trough lingers in the region. This has now lead to multiple locations pushing or exceeding the 1000mm mark over the past 5 days, with forecasts suggesting another 1000mm+ is possible for some isolated to scattered locations over the next week.

 

The heaviest falls have occurred around the Greater Townsville region once again.
24 hour totals include:
• Upper Black River 336mm
• Upper Bluewater 320mm
• Woolshed 286mm
• Mt Margaret 278mm
• Bluewater 274mm
• Woodlands 267mm
• Louisa Creek 245mm
• Vincent 244mm
• Townsville Airport 239mm
• The Lakes 227mm
• The Pinnacles 226mm
• Gordon Creek 226mm
• Garbutt 225mm
• Kirwan 223mm
• Stuart Creek 223mm
• Paluma 222mm
• Paluma Alert 222mm
• Gleesons Mill 221mm
• Cluden 221mm
• Whites Creek 216mm
• Townsville City 216mm

Greater Townsville Rainfall via BOM in the 24hrs to 9am Friday

 

 

This has lead to some exceptional 5 day totals now across the Greater Townsville / North QLD area as well as areas between Mackay and Proserpine where multiple locations have recorded over 1m of rain!

5 day totals include:
• Sandy Plateau 1249mm
• Upper Bluewater 1178mm
• Paluma 1125mm
• Paluma Alert 1052mm
• Upper Black River 1003mm
• Woolshed 985mm
• Stafford Crossing 919mm
• Forbes Road 903mm
• Upper Major Creek 870mm
• Rollingstone 841mm
• For interest sake – Townsville City’s 5 day rainfall total is now 608mm.

Queensland Rainfall via BOM in the 24hrs to 9am Friday

 

 

Additional Notes: 
•Upper Black River and Upper Bluewater have both now recorded back to back 300mm days
• Woolshed has now recorded back to back 286mm days
• The 216mm in Townsville City is the highest 24hr total for the gauge in 10 years (February 2009)
• Woolshed has now recored back to back to back 200mm days, and subsequently broken its January record for rainfall
• The 445mm for January in Townsville (yesterdays 216mm doesn’t count to the January total, it counts towards February) was the wettest January in 10 years for Townsville
• Upper Bluewater, Paluma, Forbes Road have all recorded 5 straight days of 100mm+, Sandy Plateau has recorded 4 straight days of 175mm+

It wasn’t just North QLD that received phenomenal rain, with overnight rain periods and storms accounting for excessive totals over North West QLD also!
• Miranda Creek (near Mt Isa) 265mm 
• Gereta Station 186mm
• Kamilaroi 152mm
• Lake Julius 151mm
• Hulberts Bridge 137mm (341mm in 3 days)
• Normanton 133mm
• Nardoo 120mm
• Richmond 113mm (260mm in 4 days)
• Normanton Airport 108mm
• Cloncurry 71mm

North West QLD Rainfall showing Miranda Creek with 265mm! Image via BOM

 

31 01, 2019

Townsville Declared A Disaster Zone!

This afternoon, Thursday January 31st 2019, Townsville has been declared a disaster zone by the Queensland government and has urged all businesses and schools to allow people to stay home if possible.

 

 

An emergency briefing was put in place earlier today where the decision was made in the best interest of everyone involved for the area to be declared a disaster zone. This disaster declaration has lead to closing of all schools across Greater Townsville during Friday. This has come after the official advice from the Bureau of Meteorology indicated that there was a further potential for rainfall in the vicinity of 600-900mm over the next 5 days on top of already major flooding and completely saturated grounds. This kind of situation needs the utmost respect, especially when dealing with people who are in the area of highest concern. Annastacia Palaszczcuk was quoted stating that “we need to ensure everyone’s safety”. 

 

 

Despite rainfall easing for the time being, there is the potential for rapid increases in rainfall intensity to occur suddenly as the convergence zone shifts around. In general, the concern for us at Higgins Storm Chasing is that the convergence zone is remaining firmly situated over the general area – so while one area may see a reprieve for some time, another area may soon be under the pump and this in general will cause the area to be impacted through several river and creek systems, not just one. 

What the ‘disaster zone declaration entails’ is police now have the ability to use stronger powers if need to be for evacuation purposes. Police themselves have urged people so far to stay home unless its an absolute necessity. If people are required to drive around, then common sense and respect needs to be shown, with people avoiding flood waters and following the slogan, if its flooded, forget it – or – turn around down drown! 

There will be another meeting tomorrow morning around 10am Brisbane time at the KedronDisaster Management Office to assess the situation and to report on any changes to the live situation as well as the futuristic potential. 

 

 

River Flood Levels via BOM showing Major Flooding over Greater Townsville

31 01, 2019

12:45PM 31/1/19 QLD Update – NQLD Rain + NW QLD Storms

(Above image via Weatherzone) At 12:30pm on Thursday, January 31st… Radar was indicating that Townsville was remaining under the pump with continuous moderate to heavy rain impacting the region. Falls in the vicinity of 50-100mm have become widespread since 9am with further heavy falls of 100-200mm likely during the course of today given model data is indicating that the convergence zone over the region is unlikely to ease anytime soon. Even heavier falls are possible and this will likely start to push rivers and creeks towards major levels (for those who aren’t at major) and record breaking (for those who are already in major and under the influence of the heavier falls this morning).

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As a result of the continuous rainfall this morning, people in the town of Giru are being advised (not forced yet) to seek higher ground with the river likely to break its record this afternoon in town. Its also advised that motorists across Greater Townsville be smart and safe and avoid any flash flooding at all costs – there is a significant amount of debris coming through with this flooding and even if your car can handle it (as many people have 4WD’s), it may not be able to handle the debris.

 

Weatherzone radar showing converging rain areas impacting the Greater Townsville to Ayr region.

 

 

Across North West QLD and the Peninsula, the centre of the tropical low is located roughly North of Mount Isa. This low is creating scattered storms across the Western Peninsula, Gulf of Carpentaria and North West of QLD. Some of these are likely to become severe and a warning is already issued for heavy rain in the area. This is mostly due to a combination of heavy rainfall rates and slow movement. Flash flooding is likely under many storms.

 

 

31 01, 2019

Over 1000mm recorded in 4 days after heavy 24hr totals recorded in NQLD!

We’ve seen some insane rainfall rates and totals over the past 24hrs, and that has lead to yet another day of widespread 100mm+ totals being observed across the North QLD Coast including Greater Townsville. It also lead to Sandy Plateau becoming the first location of this event to reach the 1000mm rainfall mark, with 1074mm being recorded at the location in the past 4 days. This was also the 4th straight day somewhere over NQLD had recorded almost 400mm in a single 24hr period.

 

Top 24hr totals: 
• Upper Bluewater 376mm
• Upper Black River 329mm
• Woolshed 286mm
• Bluewater 275mm
• Toolakea 275mm
• Major Creek Alert 261mm
• Mt Piccaninny 251mm
• Mt Margaret 248mm
• Sandy Plateau 226mm
• Major Creek 217mm
• Little Bohle River Alert 207mm
• Reeds Beds 204mm
• Woodlands 204mm
• Keelbottom 199mm

24hr rainfall totals via BOM over NQLD with Bluewater’s daily high highlighted.

 

 

Over the past 4 days, Upper Bluewater, Paluma, Rollingstone and Forbes Road have all recorded 4 straight days of 100mm+. Several other areas including Stafford Crossing and Sandy Plateau have recorded 3 straight days of 100mm+ as well. This has lead to some massive 3-4 day totals across the region
• Sandy Plateau 1074mm (989mm in 3 days)
• Paluma 903mm
• Upper Bluewater 858mm
• Paluma Alert 830mm
• Forbes Road 790mm
• Stafford Crossing 773mm
• Woolshed 699mm

For interest sake, Townsville has officially recorded 393mm in the past 4 days, Hamilton Island 466mm (449mm across 3 days), Proserpine 355mm (3 day total).

 

QLD Rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 9am Thursday

30 01, 2019

5PM QLD Rain & Storm Update – January 30th 2019

By 5pm Wednesday afternoon, heavy rain areas had momentarily eased across the North QLD Coast. Rain areas are continuing, but the immediate threat of dangerous flash flooding is over with falls of just 10-20mm over the past hour and 30-40mm over the past 3 hours in the Greater Townsville region. Above image via BOM showing the rainfall since 9am across Greater Townsville.

 

 

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So far today we’ve seen totals in excess of 300mm since 9am over the Bluewater, Toolakea and Black River region West of Townsville. This was brought on by heavy rain areas converging and training over the region for an extensive period of time – similar to what happened a few days ago in the Daintree. These falls caused catastrophic, life threatening flash flooding where sheds, shipping containers, cars and other possessions have been washed out. There have been reports of houses also being washed away. The water inundated many houses, completely submerging bottom levels and leading to the requirement of immediate and urgent assistance from authorities in the form of swift water rescues. While the threat has eased, rain areas are still expected to continue to impact the area for the remainder of today and overnight tonight as the converging remain near stationary. This will lead to constant rainfall occurring where we should see totals of 100-150mm becoming likely from 5pm to 9am tomorrow morning and overall totals in excess of 200mm from the period of 9am today to 9am tomorrow. Localised higher falls of 300-400mm are also likely given what has already fallen. This rainfall so far today has lead to the Ross River Dam reaching 100% capacity for the first time since 2014!

 

 

Across the Peninsula and North West / Northern Inland QLD. Some scattered showers, heavy rain periods and storms are firing up. These are being brought on by the widespread tropical moisture creating large areas of weak to moderate instability across the region. Some of these storms could become severe over the next several hours, especially in the Mount Isa to Richmond area including Winton, Cloncurry, Julia Creek, Cannington, Myola and surrounds. This is due to the rotation of a broad tropical low creating slow movement for storms which will enhance the risk of heavy rain. Locally heavy falls are possible under these storms as well as storms over the Gulf Coast and Peninsula.|

 

QLD Radar via Weatherzone showing rain areas converging over Greater Townsville, storms firing up over Northern and North West QLD and onshore rotational pull producing showers and rain periods over the Peninsula.

 

30 01, 2019

Heavy Rain Focus Over Townsville For Wednesday

Townsville is now the target for the heavy rain after more than 800mm has fallen North of Mackay over the past 3 days, and 700mm+ over the area North of Townsville! Above image via Weatherzone.

 

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Over the past 24hrs, rainfall totals have been excessive again! This has come from a combination of orographic lifting, which has enhanced rainfall near and surrounding mountainous or elevated terrain along with training over the same areas for several days. We indicated this in the blog last night, that despite 100-200mm already falling over some areas – another 100-200mm was possible overnight, and thats exactly what happened. Some of the big falls for the 24hrs to 9am include:
• Sandy Plateau 375mm (back to back 350mm+ days now)
• Paluma 370mm
• Paluma Alert 331mm
• Forbes Road 275mm
• Ridge lands 273mm
• Stafford Crossing 249mm
• Upper Bluewater 243mm
• Eungella 230mm
• Paradise Lagoon 215mm
• Peter Faust Dam 215mm
• Woolshed 209mm

 

2h4 rainfall for CQLD & NQLD via BOM for the 24hrs to 9am Wednesday. Image shows Sandy Plateau with 375mm on top of their 388mm for the same time period yesterday.

 

 

Across the last 3 days, this has lead to some MASSIVE totals!
• Sandy Plateau 848mm
• Paluma 760mm
• Stafford Crossing 714mm
• Paluma Alert 692mm
• Forbes Road 684mm
• O’Connell 639mm

Its worth noting that Stafford Crossing and Paluma have both recorded 3 straight days of 160mm+, while Sandy Plateau “only” recorded 85mm on day 1, followed by back to back 350mm+ days.

The heavy rain focus is now clearly over Townsville, with models indicating that its expected to stay over the region during the majority of today, if not all of today. Falls in the vicinity of 200-300mm cant be ruled out based on what has happened on previous days, however 100-200mm is far more likely across the larger region. Heavy falls should start to return to the Cairns to Cardwell region as well, even if they do only start up again overnight tonight and into tomorrow morning. These kinds of falls over the Townsville region will lead to some rivers well and truly exceeding major flood levels, along with widespread areas of flash flooding. Townsville has already picked up 260mm over the past 4 days, with falls of 400-500mm occurring just outside of the city in the same time period. Major flooding is ongoing at Giru and Mt Piccaninny with flood waters there continuing to rise. 

 

 

Greater Townsville Rainfall in the 24hrs to 9am Wednesday via BOM

 

29 01, 2019

9PM QLD Radar Update – January 29th 2019

9PM Tuesday, January 29th 2019 – Queensland radar and short term overnight forecast update. Above image QLD State Radar via Weatherzone

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Rain areas are continuing to impact the Central Coast and Northern QLD Coast. This includes the region of Mackay through to around Paluma / Cardwell but more specifically the Proserpine, Bowen, Whitsundays, Eungella Ranges and Ayr regions. These rain areas are continuing to converge and move in from the North East over the region in a fairly broad line. We expect this to continue overnight with a further 100-200mm being possible over these areas on top of what has already fallen. So far since 9am (the past 11-12 hours) we have seen falls of 171mm at Sandy Plateau (giving them a 1.5 day total of over 550mm), another 114mm for Stafford Crossing on top of their 302mm yesterday. 157mm at Peter Faust Dam, 144mm at Roma Peak inland from Bowen and more widespread falls of 50-120mm across the region including Airlie Beach, the Eungella Ranges and Bowen.

9am to 8pm / 8:30pm rainfall totals via BOM. Red dots are over 100mm, orange dots over 50mm.

 

Across Central Inland QLD, but also parts of Northern Inland, North West and even Southern Inland QLD we are seeing scattered rain areas. These are very hit and miss, but those who have been lucky enough to be under them have received some reasonable falls. This includes nearly 20mm at Winton so far. The rainfall has “just” missing Longreach, but local areas just West of town would’ve benefited greatly so far. Cloncurry has seen 15mm so far, and falls of 50mm+ have occurred under earlier storms North of Cloncurry. We expect some of these totals to increase gradually during the night.

 

Radar via BOM showing some light showers and patchy rain areas over Central Western QLD – just missing Longreach. Over Charleville and Southern Inland parts of QLD and over isolated parts of NW QLD.

29 01, 2019

Almost 500mm falls in 48hrs over Whitsundays, 400mm near Townsville!

Almost like a carbon copy of yesterday, we are seeing 2 convergence zones over the Northern and Central QLD Tropics which is indicating yet another day of widespread continuous rain across the region with heavy falls likely to develop as a result. This comes after almost 500mm has fallen in 2 days across areas between Mackay and Proserpine and up to 400mm South East and North of Townsville! Above image via Weatherzone Layers

 

In the past 24 hours we’ve seen some very heavy rainfall totals occur over the Mackay to Proserpine region as well as both South East and North of Townsville. It was these same areas that took a hit the day before as well, and now they might do so for yet another day. A severe storm over the area South East of Townsville overnight dumped 141mm in 6 hours and this lead to Upper Major Creek recording 261mm in the 24 hours to 9am Tuesday. Converging rain areas over Paluma dumped another 230mm to add to their 160mm the day before. While across the area North of Mackay, we’ve seen some mammoth 24 hours. This includes Sandy Plateau 373mm, Stafford Crossing 299mm, Forbes Road 299mm and O’Connell 256mm. 

Central and Northern QLD 24hr rainfall via BOM with Sandy Plateau’s 373mm highlighted.

 

Over the past 48 hours some of the big totals include: 
• Stafford Crossing 462mm
• Sandy Plateau 458mm
• O’Connell 431mm
• Forbes Road 399mm
• Paluma 390mm
• Jubilee Pocket Alert 383mm
• Hamilton Island 355mm
• Upper Major Creek 340mm

Greater Townsville 24hr rainfall to 9am January 29th via BOM. Image shows Paluma (top right) and Major Creek (SE of Townsville) heavy falls.

 

 

Now for today, we are seeing rain areas loosely converge over the Paluma to Bowen region again, this includes Townsville. This will likely lead to further continuous rainfall where falls of 100-200mm are likely once again. Another area of convergence seems to be stubborn over the Whitsunday Coast and North of Mackay. This may lead to yet another day of 100-200mm occurring with locally heavier falls being possible. This could bring some 3 day totals up to the 600-700mm mark depending on where the heaviest falls occur.

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