‘Explosion of rain’ brings flood and storm warnings as wild weather crosses Australia

More than 100mm recorded in Alice Springs as record spring rainfall lashes Northern Territory

It may not be a “rain bomb” but record rainfall is bringing warnings of flash flooding and severe thunderstorms as wild weather lashing almost every state and territory moves east.

The buzz term hitting the headlines has been used to describe Australia’s drenching this week, with flood and marine warnings in place across the nation.

“It’s a good metaphor for what we’re expecting but it’s not a technical term we use,” said a Bureau of Meteorology forecaster, Jonathan How.

“For some places it will feel like an explosion of rain, but anyone in meteorology would never say that, we try to steer clear from dramatic terms people like to coin.

“You could say a storm or rain outbreak, which is a bit more subdued.”

The low pressure system brought record spring rainfall in the Northern Territory overnight, with more than 100mm recorded in Alice Springs, the heaviest rainfall in 20 years.

Locals say they can’t recall seeing the Todd River this high. More than 90mm overnight - Alice Springs hasn’t had that much rain in one dump since 2001 @abcdarwin @abcnews pic.twitter.com/0SHXW8sVnv

— Eliza Goetze (@elizagoetze) November 10, 2021

The Todd River at the #AliceSprings Telegraph Station is quite something this morning.. pic.twitter.com/8aJtMiuwdw

— Rohan Barwick (@rohwick) November 10, 2021

“It broke the record for the wettest November ever,” How said. “There are still quite a few flood watches for large parts of central and southern Northern Territory, as well as northern South Australia and southern Queensland.”

Widespread record rainfall will pass over south-west Queensland in the next two days, with between two to three times the average November rainfall expected.

Four catchments in New South Wales are under flood watch, with major flooding expected in rivers up to the Queensland border and flash flooding expected in inland areas. Six hourly rainfall totals exceeding 100mm are possible for northern inland parts of the state.

Two-thirds of dams in NSW are already above 90% capacity, while Menindee Lakes is at 112% and Brogo Dam is sitting above 102%. The Lachlan River is expected to remain above 2.7 metres until early next week.

“We’ve just issued severe weather warnings for heavy rain in inland New South Wales and southern Queensland, with possible flash flooding particularly in Tamworth and parts of Darling,” How said.

Sydney will see a chance of thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday, with winds of 15km/h to 20km/h and a 90% chance of rain until showers ease off on Saturday.

Melbourne will see its highest chance of rainfall on Friday and Saturday, with winds of up to 40km/h on Sunday and possible hail.

High rainfall will also lash the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland and South Australia, with thunderstorms expected after pockets of heavy rainfall overnight in north Adelaide, Western Australia and the Queensland coast.

North Rockhampton recorded 341mm of rain up to 9am Wednesday, while Bundaberg south saw falls of 68mm.

“As the storm moves east it’s given us a taste of what’s to come,” How said. “Major flooding can be a risk to communities along rivers, but flash flooding will also cause headache and grief to farmers harvesting, likely to lose their crops. The flooding impacts will last well into next week.”

Sign up to receive an email with the top stories from Guardian Australia every morning

The ACT is expected to be the wettest capital come Friday, once a low pressure moves to the territory, with falls expected between 25mm and 50 mm.

“It could go higher,” How said. “They’re really going to cop it.”

Storms are also expected in Brisbane and Sydney before easing off late Friday afternoon or early evening. But Victoria will see “dangerous easterly winds” increase on Friday which could cause tree damage across southern parts of the state, until an eventual easing early next week.

As storms continue, summer is looking “quite far off” with tropical moisture brewing across the east coast and cold air pushing from the south bringing a wet, cold and windy end to spring.

“It’s going to be cold across the country, more like wintertime,” How said. “We’re seeing maximum temperatures five to 15 degrees below average, and temperatures of 12 and 13 degrees in Canberra ... it’s very unusual for November.”


Caitlin Cassidy

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Plibersek says election ‘a test of leadership, not memory’ after Albanese mistake – As it happened
All the day’s news as it unfolded

Tory Shepherd and Amy Remeikis

11, Apr, 2022 @8:49 AM

Article image
Australia live news update: fifth child airlifted to hospital with irukandji jellyfish sting; Albanese and Dutton trade insults over Indigenous voice
This blog is now closed

Stephanie Convery (now) and Royce Kurmelovs (earlier)

08, Jan, 2023 @5:30 AM

Article image
‘Exceptionally wet and stormy’ week of weather ahead for eastern and central Australia
Temperatures are forecast to be between six and 16 degrees below the seasonal average in south-east Australia

Caitlin Cassidy

08, Nov, 2021 @1:57 AM

Article image
Australia coronavirus live update: 12th death at Sydney's Newmarch House – as it happened
Christian Porter comments on Cheng Jingye’s reaction to coronavirus inquiry call. This blog is now closed

Ben Doherty (now), Luke Henriques-Gomes and Amy Remeikis (earlier)

29, Apr, 2020 @9:36 AM

Article image
Invasion Day 2023: a guide to protest marches and events across Australia on 26 January
People across the country will gather to call for change on 26 January and celebrate First Nations survival and culture

Mostafa Rachwani

25, Jan, 2023 @9:58 AM

Article image
Australia coronavirus news: Labor ridicules $60bn jobkeeper error as government says scheme will not be widened – as it happened
The number of workers accessing the wage subsidy has been overestimated, NSW to relax restrictions from 1 June and Target to close up to 75 stores. This blog is now closed

Josh Taylor, Luke Henriques-Gomes and Amy Remeikis

22, May, 2020 @9:46 AM

Article image
Are schools open or closed for term 2 as coronavirus spread slows in Australia? State-by-state guide
Many parents have been left confused about whether students can or should return to school

Paul Karp

24, Apr, 2020 @1:35 AM

Article image
Masks still not recommended for community to protect against Covid-19 in Australia as death toll rises to 30 – as it happened
Chief medical officer Paul Kelly says ‘using a mask incorrectly can actually make it more dangerous’. This blog is now closed.

Lisa Cox (now) Melissa Davey (earlier)

04, Apr, 2020 @7:06 AM

Article image
Low-intensity heatwave will bring summer back to much of Australia
Sydney’s wild weather has eased, but parts of the country will continue to swelter under extreme temperatures

Caitlin Cassidy

10, Feb, 2023 @4:29 AM

Article image
News Corp to issue Ruby Princess inquiry apology as unemployment jumps to 6.2% – as it happened
The Australian will publish an apology to the commission into the cruise ship for some of its coverage as jobkeeper wage subsidy hides true damage to jobs figures. This blog is now closed

Naaman Zhou and Amy Remeikis

14, May, 2020 @9:58 AM