Unprecedented flooding hits Australia's Queensland

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 10:57 PM GMT on December 29, 2010

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Unprecedented flooding has hit the northeast Australian state of Queensland, thanks to a week and a half of torrential rains and the landfall of Tropical Cyclone Tasha on Christmas Day. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard stated yesterday, "Some communities are seeing flood waters higher than they've seen in decades, and for some communities flood waters have never reached these levels before [in] the time that we have been recording floods." The worst flooding occurred where Tropical Cyclone Tasha made landfall on Christmas Day. Though Tasha was a minimal tropical storm with 40 mph winds and lasted less than a day, the cyclone dumped very heavy rains of 8 - 16 inches (about 200 - 400 mm) on a region that was already waterlogged from months of heavy rains. According to the National Climatic Data Center, springtime in Australia (September - November) had precipitation 125% of normal--the wettest spring in the country since records began 111 years ago. Some sections of coastal Queensland received over 4 feet (1200 mm) of rain from September through November. Rainfall in Australia in December may also set a record for rainiest December. The heavy rains are due, in part, to the moderate to strong La NiƱa event that has been in place since July. While the rains have eased over Queensland over the past few days, some rivers will not reach peak flood stage until Friday. Approximately 1000 people have been evacuated from the affected area so far.


Figure 1. Rainfall in Queensland, Australia for the 7-day period ending December 29, 2010. Image credit: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.


Figure 2. Radar image of Tropical Cyclone Tasha as it moved inland over Queensland, Australia on Christmas Day (local time.) Image credit: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.


Figure 3. River conditions in Queensland as of 8:30am local time on December 30, 2010. Image credit: Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

Flood warnings are in effect for over twelve rivers, and the flooding has closed approximately 300 roads across Queensland, including two major highways into the capital of Brisbane. Evacuations are underway in Rockhampton, a city of 50,000 people on the coast. Damage to infrastructure in Australia has been estimated at over $1 billion by the government, and economists have estimated the Australian economy will suffer an additional $6 billion in damage over the coming months due to reduced exports, according to insurance company AIR Worldwide. Queensland is Australia's top coal-producing state, and coal mining and delivery operations are being severely hampered by the flooding. Damage to agriculture is curently estimated at $400 million, and is expected to rise.

Flooding woes hit New Zealand
Wild weather has also hit New Zealand this week. Golden Bay on the northern end of the South Island of New Zealand had its worst floods in 150 years this week, thanks to torrential rains that dropped up to 13.2 inches (337.5 mm) in just 24 hours on Monday at one mountain location.


Figure 4. Two webcam views of the Motueka River in New Zealand taken five hours apart on December 28, 2010, showing the dramatic rise in the river due to flooding rains. Image credit: Tasman District Council. Screen shots kindly sent to me by Matt Johnson.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting MichaelSTL:


Or La Nina, whichever is present:



(some people are the same way with unusual weather)
If they make one for 2004/5 it should say blame it on the hurricanes.
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enter stage left
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting Grothar:


Now that you ask, your avatar is a bit schmaltzy.
It's to pink even for my daughter to look at(she likes blue,but doesn't mind pink either.)
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Quoting Grothar:


Yes, staying up until the ball drops and then to bed at 12:01. And you! (P.S. my breathing is much better)


LOL..I will be asleep at midnight. Manager on duty at work on Saturday.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Big New Year's Eve. plans?


Yes, staying up until the ball drops and then to bed at 12:01. And you! (P.S. my breathing is much better)
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Quoting Grothar:


Nice day and evening. First night we could sit outside without looking like Nanook of the North. Hope it stays awhile. Have a nice New Year everyone. I may not be on much.


Big New Year's Eve. plans?
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Quoting MichaelSTL:


Yes, and you don't know why they call it global warming.

Just because it is cold, even record cold, in one area doesn't mean that it is cold everywhere! How many times does this have to be repeated before people get it?!


Because it isn't warming. You global warming cultists use unreliable data for "proof" the globe is warming. Look at the land-based weather stations in the US. 90% of them are biased toward the warm side. Now we have satellite data sets that aren't showing any warming unless the results are "smoothed" and complete areas are ignored completely. Garbage in equals garbage out. Even if it were warming, we still haven't reached the maximum temperatures of the past, which completely rules out man-made temperature increases. What will you be saying next year when we have certain "areas" of the globe reaching 1000 year minimums?
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Quoting NavarreMark:


Hope you're doing well this beautiful evening Grothar. It truly is a beautiful evening.


Nice day and evening. First night we could sit outside without looking like Nanook of the North. Hope it stays awhile. Have a nice New Year everyone. I may not be on much.
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Quoting washingtonian115:
What about my avatar?.Should I go right back to the flowers I had,or keep this one?


Now that you ask, your avatar is a bit schmaltzy.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Gale Gordon was a nicer neighbor.


RRRRReaaaaly now! LOL


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Quoting Grothar:


"Finally an avatar that fits you." excerpt from George Wilson.


Gale Gordon was a nicer neighbor.
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Quoting Grothar:


"Finally an avatar that fits you." excerpt from George Wilson.
What about my avatar?.Should I go right back to the flowers I had,or keep this one?
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Beautiful day here in so. Fla. First day out in a while without a jacket. Hope it lasts for a while!


"Finally an avatar that fits you." excerpt from George Wilson.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Beautiful day here in so. Fla. First day out in a while without a jacket. Hope it lasts for a while!
Sadly after our warm up,we'll go right back to a cold pattern.
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correction, post 230. My IE apparently sucks.
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@229 - looks that way for the next 10 days. Would be nice to see some green shoots in the lawn vs. an empty vastness of brown/gold.
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Beautiful day here in so. Fla. First day out in a while without a jacket. Hope it lasts for a while!
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232. BtnTx
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Hello everyone. I hope everyone is staying out of any bad weather.

Hi, BtnTX. What part of Baytown are you in? I am in SE Highlands. I am about 5 miles west of the San Jac Mall. We got a pretty good rain most of the day yesterday and some big thunder boomers with some nice light displays the night before.
I am about a quarter mile north of San Jacinto mall off Garth Rd
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Quoting supercoachdave:
Brutal here in NE Florida. On average we have 18 nights at or below 32 degrees the entire year. We had 18 in December!
then maybe fla winter is over

Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting clwstmchasr:


Year of extremes. Remember the record cold last winter? And now this December where we have had many days in the 20's here in Northern Pinellas.
extreme naw ya seen nothing yet
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting KoritheMan:


Nah. If the apocalypse occurs, we can just blame it on El Nino. ;)
I don't think such will occur.Maybe a giant mudslide will happen destroying the ruins of the myan city.
lol.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:
Regarding ENSO. Sneaky suspicion is that Neutral conditions will fade into El Nino in Feb. 2012, might not lead to such an apocalyptic year in 2012 that we all fear (for the record, that naming list isn't very scary and we can't forget the curse of Chris either)


Nah. If the apocalypse occurs, we can just blame it on El Nino. ;)
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Brutal here in NE Florida. On average we have 18 nights at or below 32 degrees the entire year. We had 18 in December!
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Quoting Jeff9641:


If it's like that of 2004/2005 with nuetral conditions at peak season then the SE US is for major trouble this summer but if El-Nino does take shape come Aug or Sept then we should be in good shape. The next couple of months are key to see if the consensus pans out because if not then people in FL could be in for a hurtin.
I think we could fall into a weak la nina/neutral year.That's why I think the U.S is in trouble next year,but we'll see what pans out.
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Regarding ENSO. Sneaky suspicion is that Neutral conditions will fade into El Nino in Feb. 2012, might not lead to such an apocalyptic year in 2012 that we all fear (for the record, that naming list isn't very scary and we can't forget the curse of Chris either)
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218. LOL. But it snows in Detroit every winter.
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It is officially snowing in hell:

WWUS85 KPSR 302132 AAA
SPSPSR

SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT...UPDATED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PHOENIX AZ
232 PM MST THU DEC 30 2010

AZZ022-023-310200-
NORTHWEST MARICOPA COUNTY-GREATER PHOENIX AREA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...BUCKEYE...LAKE PLEASANT...MORRISTOWN...
NEW RIVER...TONOPAH...WICKENBURG...CAREFREE...CAVE CREEK...
CHANDLER...FOUNTAIN HILLS...GILBERT...GLENDALE...MESA...PEORIA...
PHOENIX...SCOTTSDALE...SUN CITY...AND TEMPE
232 PM MST THU DEC 30 2010

...A MIX OF RAIN AND FROZEN PRECIPITATION IN THE GREATER PHOENIX
AREA TODAY...

SCATTERED SHOWERS OF RAIN MIXED WITH SNOW WILL MOVE TO THE EAST-
SOUTHEAST ACROSS PORTIONS OF NORTHERN MARICOPA COUNTY...INCLUDING THE
GREATER PHOENIX AREA...THROUGH THE LATE AFTERNOON HOURS TODAY. MOST
OF THE SHOWERS WILL BE NORTH AND EAST OF A LINE FROM WICKENBURG
TO CENTRAL PHOENIX...THEN EASTWARD TO APACHE JUNCTION.

THE AIR MASS OVER CENTRAL ARIZONA IS VERY COLD...HIGH TEMPERATURES
TODAY WILL BE IN THE MID 40S TO LOW 50S. AS SUCH THE SNOW LEVEL HAS
LOWERED TO AROUND 2000 FEET...AND MANY OF THE SHOWERS HAVE BEEN A MIX
OF RAIN AND SNOW...INCLUDING GRAUPEL AND SMALL SOFT HAIL. FOR THE
MOST PART THERE WILL BE LITTLE OR NO ACCUMULATION OF FROZEN
PRECIPITATION...BUT THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS OF NORTHERN MARICOPA COUNTY
SUCH AS CAVE CREEK...NEW RIVER...FOUNTAIN HILLS AND PARADISE VALLEY
MAY SEE VERY LIGHT ACCUMULATIONS THROUGH 5 PM THIS AFTERNOON.

MOTORISTS ACROSS NORTHERN MARICOPA COUNTY SHOULD DRIVE WITH CAUTION
THIS AFTERNOON...AS THE MIX OF RAIN AND FROZEN PRECIPITATION WILL
MAKE FOR SLIPPERY AND POTENTIAL HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS. DRIVE
WITH CAUTION DURING THE RUSH HOUR...ESPECIALLY ON INTERSTATE 17 NORTH
OF PHOENIX...AND ON HIGHWAY 74 EAST OF WICKENBURG.

STAY UP-TO-DATE ON THE LATEST FORECASTS BY LISTENING TO WEATHER RADIO
ON THE PUBLIC SERVICE BAND. MORE DETAILED INFORMATION IS AVAILABLE
FROM THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PHOENIX ON THE INTERNET AT

WEATHER.GOV/PHOENIX

$$

BRECKENRIDGE
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If an El nino does indeed form next year it will be in the december through 2012 spring time range.I don'
t think an El nino will form during next years hurricane season.
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Jeff9641..I made a trip up to north Florida last month for Thanksgiving and took the scenic route (NOT) back home to Palm Beach county...We wanted to stop in Oldtown...I am now totally convinced that God sends all people to Kissimmee that can't drive.Just my opinion. There might (but I doubt it) be worse places
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Quoting Jeff9641:


I just wondering the same thing. I thought of him when DOC posted this blog. I don't think he comes on anymore due to the abundence of trolls lately.


You are correct.
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Quoting Jeff9641:
75 here in Orlando now and it feels great!

About the same here in Palm Beach county Jeff......Didn't realize how much I have turned into a real Florida girl.I hate that cold spell
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Has anyone heard from our WU friend Aussie?
Hope he is being spared from the devastating floods.
Member Since: December 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 273
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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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