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 Niña 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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№ 148

Quoting MichaelSTL: And that doesn't even include most of the Arctic, which was up to 10[deg C] above average in November (NASA also handily allows you to use polar projection which shows the polar regions better)


DMI data for 80degN seems to disagree with this for November 2010. Granted the baselines are different-- DMI uses 1958-2002 and NASA 1951-1980--but the difference is still striking. The NASA shows over half of the area north of 80degN as being 10degC above the baseline. The DMI graph shows a peak of only about 5degC late in November; half of the month is below the baseline. Note that November is represented as Days 305-334.

From here.

Added: Just for clarification--red line is temperature data in K, green is the 1958-2002 average for the DMI data, the blue line is the freezing point of water. More details available at the link below the graph.
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Hydrus - we are located in south central WI.
We had about an hour of rain last night that made the roads extremely slick - lots of slide offs & roll overs. Temps were hovering at 32 and instantly froze. Today we are supposed to hit 40 with drizzle & possible rain showers.
So much for our snow........... :(
Member Since: December 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 273
Quoting lilElla:


It's going to be a nasty day in N & S Dakota and western/northern MN. We are on the warm side with rain & even a chance of thunder tomorrow. Saturday will be another story, with frozen,ponded water and below 0 windchills.
Where are you located?
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Quoting BtnTx:
Major thunderstorm here in Baytown, extending from here to southwest of Houston and heading my way. Electric power is on and off.


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.
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I was just reading the NOAA's State of the Climate Global Analysis for November. A few select highlights:

--The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for November 2010 was the second warmest on record (2004 was the warmest.)

--For 2010 year-to-date (January–November), the combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest since records began in 1880.

--The November 2010 Northern Hemisphere land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest November on record.

--The November 2010 global land surface temperature was the warmest on record.

Pretty amazing. This shows the global extent of the heat anomalies; they're not confined to just one hemisphere (and note the extra warmth in southern Greenland):

Appropriate tropical weather-related image

Meanwhile, this chart shows some interesting--and scary--trend lines:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image

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Quoting Jeff9641:
Could even be a moderate risk issued by Norman tomorrow with some of these wind profiles in place.

Morning Jeff9641, Not on much so have a happy new year. My lowest temp. this week was 17.6 with ice fog on wed morning.
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Quoting hydrus:
Rather impressive squall line for late December...


It's going to be a nasty day in N & S Dakota and western/northern MN. We are on the warm side with rain & even a chance of thunder tomorrow. Saturday will be another story, with frozen,ponded water and below 0 windchills.
Member Since: December 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 273
Rather impressive squall line for late December...
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Quoting kwgirl:
Is this part of the New Madrid fault?


Yes
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Quoting Neapolitan:

The same mechanism is why the New Madrid quakes--which have their 200th anniversary in just under a year--were felt as far away as South Carolina and New England...


Well I knew that fault line was capable of some respectable quakes, but never would of guessed they could be that bad! When you hear of strong quakes, usually it's a coastal area it seems. Scary to know it could happen in my backyard.
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Quoting nocaneindy:
Wow! We just had a earthquake here in central Indiana.

Magnitude 4.2 - INDIANA
2010 December 30 12:55:21 UTC

Magnitude 4.2
Date-Time

* Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:55:21 UTC
* Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 07:55:21 AM at epicenter

Location 40.427°N, 85.888°W
Depth 4.9 km (3.0 miles) set by location program
Region INDIANA
Distances

* 9 km (5 miles) SE (131°) from Greentown, IN
* 9 km (6 miles) NE (39°) from Windfall City, IN
* 10 km (6 miles) SSW (211°) from Swayzee, IN
* 22 km (13 miles) ESE (107°) from Kokomo, IN
* 74 km (46 miles) NNE (17°) from Indianapolis, IN
* 217 km (135 miles) SE (136°) from Chicago, IL

Link
Is this part of the New Madrid fault?
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133. DDR
4.5 on Trinidad's north coast a few days ago,very short lived though.
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Quoting nocaneindy:


I saw that map and thought it was a rather large area to feel a 4.2, thanks for explaining why.

The same mechanism is why the New Madrid quakes--which have their 200th anniversary in just under a year--were felt as far away as South Carolina and New England...
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Quoting Neapolitan:


Those Midwestern quakes sure are felt over a long distance due to the underlying bedrock's ability to transfer energy so much more efficiently than a Pacific Coast quake can:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image


I saw that map and thought it was a rather large area to feel a 4.2, thanks for explaining why.
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Quoting nocaneindy:
Wow! We just had a earthquake here in central Indiana.

Magnitude 4.2 - INDIANA
2010 December 30 12:55:21 UTC

Magnitude 4.2
Date-Time

* Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:55:21 UTC
* Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 07:55:21 AM at epicenter

Location 40.427°N, 85.888°W
Depth 4.9 km (3.0 miles) set by location program
Region INDIANA
Distances

* 9 km (5 miles) SE (131°) from Greentown, IN
* 9 km (6 miles) NE (39°) from Windfall City, IN
* 10 km (6 miles) SSW (211°) from Swayzee, IN
* 22 km (13 miles) ESE (107°) from Kokomo, IN
* 74 km (46 miles) NNE (17°) from Indianapolis, IN
* 217 km (135 miles) SE (136°) from Chicago, IL

Link


Those Midwestern quakes sure are felt over a long distance due to the underlying bedrock's ability to transfer energy so much more efficiently than a Pacific Coast quake can:

Click for larger image:

Appropriate tropical weather-related image
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129. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Tropical Cyclone Warning Center Perth
Tropical Cyclone Advice #3
TROPICAL LOW 06U
9:00 PM WST December 30 2010
==========================================

At 8:00 pm WST, Tropical Low (1000 hPa) located at 15.6S 128.5E (overland), or 30 kilometres northwest of Kununurra and 45 kilometres east southeast of Wyndham at 10 minute sustained wind of 10 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The low is reported as moving west southwest at 14 knots.

Dvorak Intensity: OVERLAND

The low may develop into a tropical cyclone after it moves off the west Kimberley coast late Friday or early Saturday. It is not expected to cause gales on Friday but gales may develop along the Pilbara coast on Saturday for a brief period as the system moves steadily towards the west southwest parallel to the Pilbara coast. By Sunday the system is likely to be north of Exmouth and continuing to move towards the west.

Coastal areas of the west Kimberley between Kuri Bay and Wallal including Broome can expect a period of strong winds and heavy rain overnight from Friday into Saturday morning. Heavy rainfall of 100 to 150mm is expected in the north and west Kimberley over the next two days as the system moves westwards. Significant stream rises with local flooding is possible in the North and West Kimberley, refer to the latest Flood Watch [IDW39610] for further details. The system is unlikely to cause flooding in the Pilbara due to its steady movement.

Tropical Cyclone Watches
========================
A Cyclone WATCH continues for a developing tropical low for coastal areas from Wallal to Exmouth.

Forecast and Intensity
=========================
12 HRS: 16.1S 125.7E - 15 knots (Tropical Low)
24 HRS: 17.3S 122.6E - 25 knots (Tropical Low)
48 HRS: 19.2S 116.2E - 50 knots (CAT 2)
72 HRS: 20.7S 110.7E - 45 knots (CAT 1)

Additional Information
=====================
Model guidance is consistent with a west to southwest track due to a strong mid level ridge to the south. The low is likely to move offshore late Friday or early Saturday into favourable sea surface temperatures. Being forecast to be of midget size, the system should develop rapidly into a tropical cyclone after spending less than 12 hours over open water.

Upper level winds are unidirectional but as the system is moving in the direction of the shear it is likely to experience favourable shear conditions. The system is likely to have reasonable structure as it moves offshore. Given its forecast motion of 15 knots, strong winds should extend further on the southern side increasing the chance of gales on the Pilbara coast, albeit for a relatively short period.

The system is forecast to intensify, possibly to category 2 intensity [50 knots 10 minute mean wind] but should encounter cooler waters in the longer term northwest of Exmouth which should constrain its development potential.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 50 Comments: 44821
Quoting Neapolitan:
From a local met:

"The month of December, 2010 will likely go down as one of the coldest Decembers on record in Southwest Florida. In the Fort Myers area there were 22 morning low temperatures in the 40's and 30's. Daytime highs all month were running below average most every day." (Haley Webb)

22 sub-50 mornings in one month? Ridiculous--especially after an eight-month span that was among the area's warmest ever.


Yesterday's high at Reagan Nat'l Airport in Washington, DC was 48 ... the warmest it's been since a 65 degree reading shortly after midnight on Dec. 1. It was also only the 4th day in which the mean temperature was above average. Even with this current "heat wave" we're still 5.4 degrees below average.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Wow! We just had a earthquake here in central Indiana.

Magnitude 4.2 - INDIANA
2010 December 30 12:55:21 UTC

Magnitude 4.2
Date-Time

* Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 12:55:21 UTC
* Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 07:55:21 AM at epicenter

Location 40.427°N, 85.888°W
Depth 4.9 km (3.0 miles) set by location program
Region INDIANA
Distances

* 9 km (5 miles) SE (131°) from Greentown, IN
* 9 km (6 miles) NE (39°) from Windfall City, IN
* 10 km (6 miles) SSW (211°) from Swayzee, IN
* 22 km (13 miles) ESE (107°) from Kokomo, IN
* 74 km (46 miles) NNE (17°) from Indianapolis, IN
* 217 km (135 miles) SE (136°) from Chicago, IL

Link
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123. IKE
I'll take some warmer weather now. This recent cold blast is making me want to Fly Away!

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Quoting Neapolitan:
From a local met:

"The month of December, 2010 will likely go down as one of the coldest Decembers on record in Southwest Florida. In the Fort Myers area there were 22 morning low temperatures in the 40's and 30's. Daytime highs all month were running below average most every day." (Haley Webb)

22 sub-50 mornings in one month? Ridiculous--especially after an eight-month span that was among the area's warmest ever.

Yes I heard last night that Tampa had its coldest December also.I think they said avg mean was 53.
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From a local met:

"The month of December, 2010 will likely go down as one of the coldest Decembers on record in Southwest Florida. In the Fort Myers area there were 22 morning low temperatures in the 40's and 30's. Daytime highs all month were running below average most every day." (Haley Webb)

22 sub-50 mornings in one month? Ridiculous--especially after an eight-month span that was among the area's warmest ever.
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"Wendy" is a really good "Association" song.
This is their greatest and one of the best love songs ever.
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and here's Michael Jackson's rendition of "Behind the Mask". the guy who originally co-wrote the lyrics and gave them to Greg Philinggranes and Eric Clapton back in his Thriller heyday! Too bad he never released it...

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Here's somethin' related to weather!!!

It's about a major hurricane(forgot the name) that struck in 1955...

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Quoting PSLFLCanesVet:
Then tell me who you really are, DontAnnoyMe. I know for a fact that you are a previously banned member who was part of that crew before. I'm sure WU admin will find that bit of information very interesting.


I'm DontAnnoyMe. One handle, never been banned. I'm sure WU admin will find your false accusations very interesting.
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Quoting PSLFLCanesVet:


I see that neither one of you even show up in the "show bad" category, so evidently the community at large view you both as trolls. DAM is the banned troll formerly known as WxHead who is circumventing his ban.


No, I'm not. Sorry to disappoint you.
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
I didn't realise their was a beauty contest going on.


Haha, trolls in a beauty contest! Just imagine the visuals.
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I didn't realise their was a beauty contest going on.
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Quoting PrivateIdaho:
Freakin cold.


Bogus. Snow too?
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Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


Industrial strength! Hey Spuds, how are ya?
Freakin cold.
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hammer time is coming
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting PrivateIdaho:
how big of a loser do you have to be to be a troll on a weather blog?......LOL!!


Industrial strength! Hey Spuds, how are ya?
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Gusts to 50mph today Keep.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
have you ever considered it may be caused by stupidity
how big of a loser do you have to be to be a troll on a weather blog?......LOL!!
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pslflcanesvet do u know what time it is
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296

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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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