It’s been a long, wet series of days for large parts of Australia’s east coast with a relentless band of wave of rain giving both NSW and Queensland an absolute drenching.
As flood-affected communities cop even more heavy rain today, the question on everyone’s lips is when these monsoon-like conditions will ease up.
According to Sky News Meteorologist Rob Sharpe, today will see much heavier rain falling than yesterday – with a severe weather warning stretching almost the entire length of the NSW coast and southern Queensland.
“We’ve also got the threat of damaging winds with this system and that will pick up into Victoria by the time we get to tomorrow,” he said, adding that Gippsland and other parts of eastern Victoria were forecast to cop a drenching.
Queenslanders are being told to brace for “life-threatening” flooding, as the already soaked southeast could be pelted with another 150mm on Tuesday.
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At 4.30am, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning for the southeast, saying heavy rainfall which may lead to flash flooding is likely around the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, and Southeast Corner on Tuesday, continuing overnight into Wednesday morning.
“The situation is likely to pose a serious risk to areas already affected by heavy rainfall, including the risk of landslips in steep terrain,” the warning said.
“In these areas, the situation may become life-threatening.
“Six hour rainfall totals of 100-150 mm are likely, and locally heavier falls are possible with thunderstorms.”
The good news is that, as today progresses, NSW and Queensland should start to see the rain finally start to die down.
The downside is that parts of Victoria and Tasmania will be hit by the same system over the next couple of days.
The Bureau of Meteorology said that today around 10 million Australians in every mainland state and territory except Western Australia were subject to the weather warning – “an area similar to the size of Alaska”, the largest state in the United States.
This could top up already saturated rivers in the state’s north and bring flooding to west just as the current trough moves down towards the south coast.
The north coast, south coast, Sydney and parts of western NSW are now all under threat.
However, the bureau’s NSW/ACT manager of weather services Jane Golding said the worst of the weather would be over for Sydney by Tuesday evening. “We might see some stars tomorrow night,” she said.
BOM meteorologist Justin Robinson said there were now flood alerts on a vast number of rivers. In addition, a new band of rain moving in from Central Australia to the east today will affect not just areas already sodden with moisture but other areas which up to now have been relatively untouched.
“This is a statewide flood event,” he said. “We’ve got a flood watch all the way from the Queensland border down to the Victorian border, all those coastal rivers.”
Queensland also has flood watch on a number of rivers in the southeast of the state.
“We’re expecting in the coming days to cause flooding in those rivers and new flooding in many of those communities have already been impacted in the last couple of days,” he added.
Mr Robinson said Kempsey, on the NSW mid-north coast, saw its waters rise to essentially the same height it was two days ago as fresh rain fed into the system.
The BOM has warned that the south coast of NSW, which hasn’t been as badly affected, could now see flooding.
In addition, western NSW, which the BOM defines as areas west of the Great Dividing Range, is also under threat as the fresh rain band moves in. Areas around Inverell could see major flooding.
Ms Golding said towns like Taree could see rivers rise again and renewed flooding.
“This extra rain is not what these towns needed.”