Monsoon Low over North Queensland
A nearly stationary monsoonal low has developed over north Queensland. No indication it will move off in the next 10 days so things could get a bit damp.
Local rainfall is 336 mm so far, the dam rose from 65% two days ago and reached 112% by noon with spillway overflowing.
There were several sites within 30 km that received between 250 mm and 330 mm in 4 hours after 9 AM this morning. And ECMWF indicates to expect a lot more rain from here:
Given the lack of easing or movement within the model-run (it intensifies and moves little) the model is giving an early indication of severe flooding to come. At the end of the 10-day period there's still no indication the rain will ease.
Good news for ducks, frogs and crocodiles.
The local rainfall total is now 511 mm with another night of heavy rain beginning. The Dam rose to 140% full today.
The low has just begun to deepen and pull more moisture in and will continue to do that for at least 5 days. If anything the rainfall projection over the outback is increasing each day.
There is some early indication the system could move into the SE corner of the Gulf of Carpentaria in 9 to 10 days.
Good news for mushrooms.
UPDATE: Ross River Dam reached 190% capacity at 6PM, a 10% increase in 6 hrs.
More heavy rain approaching at 6:50 PM (radar).
A total of 685.6 mm has fallen locally at this time 7 PM. The dam flood gates were opened this morning. Many flash floods have been occurring and rivers are approaching major flood levels (>1,000 mm has fallen within 30 km of Townsville).
Govt and EMS became fully alerted overnight and made a preemptive Disaster Area declaration around Townsville this morning. A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman at the Premier's announcement said the system is becoming more active into next week and warning of falls up to 400 mm per day for several days, and that rainfall totals may exceed 2 to 3 times the annual average rainfall.
i.e. >3,500 mm, or >11 feet 5 inches of rainfall.
The forecast shows little movement, but a possible drift over Cape York in 10 days time:
2 days from now.
10 days from now.
The 10-day "accumulated rainfall" looks little changed to the one I posted 4-days ago, if anything it looks slightly worse so there's a lot of rain to come. This rain event covers a land area about 1.5 times the size of Texas.
UPDATE: The latest model run indicates it may decay back to the monsoon trough in about a week from now and re-enter the Coral Sea, to finally move offshore during Saturday the 9th of February.
The official rainfall total (BOM airport measure) is now 855mm.
Date Rain mm
The city missed the really heavy rain last night but much heavier fell just north and south. The BOM radar site 30km west and much closer to the dam received around 390mm during the past 24hrs (at 11:30AM). The township of Bluewater, about 40 km to the NW reported rainfall of 1,230 mm to 9AM yesterday, but has received around 350 mm more since then, so falls of around 1,600 mm have already taken place.
Despite the open flood-gates opening the dam reached 215 % full at 2PM. It's rising at about 2% per hour. I included prior capacity peaks for comparison.
The mayor, "... stressed there was no risk to the integrity of the dam, adding that the dam still had plenty of flood mitigation capacity left. However, the council declined to offer an explanation on what the percentage figure means in reference to flood prevention. "At the moment, what we're trying to do is manage the inflows and the outflows so that we minimise the impact downstream," she said. "We took a deliberate decision to allow more water to exit the dam. It's now running at approximately 872 cubic metres a second. "That has given us a bit of spare capacity now in terms of the flood mitigation that the dam can provide. It's given us some breathing space."
Reported by ABC at 3:15 PM: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-02/townsville-flooding-worsens-with-north-queensland-monsoon/10773008
BOM’s last warning says it clearly:
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology - Queensland
The Standard Emergency Warning Signal should NOT be used with this message.
TOP PRIORITY FOR IMMEDIATE BROADCAST
Severe Weather Warning for DAMAGING WINDS and HEAVY RAINFALL
For people in Gulf Country, Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Herbert and Lower Burdekin, North West and parts of Peninsula, North Tropical Coast and Tablelands and Central West Forecast Districts.
Issued at 10:56 am [40 minutes ago] Saturday, 2 February 2019.
INTENSE RAINFALL WITH SIGNIFICANT FLASH FLOODING TO CONTINUE AROUND TOWNSVILLE. Heavy rainfall with the potential for damaging winds remains in place elsewhere across north Queensland.
Weather Situation: The slow-moving monsoon trough lies across north Queensland, extending from Ingham to Hughenden and into central parts of the Northern Territory. A deep tropical low is also embedded along the monsoon trough, currently located about 75km east-southeast of Century Mine. The monsoon flow is expected to strengthen further over the weekend, resulting in the expansion and continuation of widespread severe weather across north Queensland. The monsoon trough is expected to remain active into next week, with further heavy rainfall expected for already saturated catchments. The potential for significant and dangerous flash flooding will likely continue for areas between Rollingstone and Bowen.
HERBERT AND LOWER BURDEKIN including TOWNSVILLE
Over the course of the weekend, heavy rainfall with six-hourly rainfall totals between 150mm to 200mm are likely with concentrated areas of intense rainfall with totals up to 300mm possible, particularly with bands of thunderstorms between Rollingstone and Bowen. Creek and river catchments are already saturated and will therefore respond very rapidly to any rainfall. Flash flooding is a high risk. Landslides have been reported associated with this event and will continue to be possible in vulnerable areas that have experienced significant rainfall.
i.e. conditions exist for 600 to 800 mm within 24hrs. I've seen that intensity before, on Jan 10th, 1998 (dubbed the "Night of Noah") when 760 mm fell in just 6.5 hrs. Your eyes see it but your brain says that can't happen. Raindrops that big don't exist, and nor do they get packed that close together, but it happens under strong on-shore tropical convergence (ex-tropical-cyclone 'Sid' in that case). But when that occurred the area was more or less dry. Cars, caravans and whole houses ended up floating in Halifax bay. I've also seen >1200mm fall within 72 hours, which makes a nice mess too.
The cumulative rain forecast has slowly begun to improve:
In about 7 days it's being forecast to enter the Coral Sea, within a very deep and active monsoon trough.
In 10 days it forms a tropical cyclone.
It will be interesting to see how accurate all of that is.
The ECMWF rain and cloud model has performed terrifically so far, and Windy is visualizing that forecast so beautifully. Thank you for this outstanding display tool Windy.
Date | Rain mm
TOTAL 953 mm
So far we’ve had no heavy sustained downpours. No 300 mm to 400 mm events have occurred here as yet. Fortunately all of the heavy sustained rainfall has passed either just to the north or just to the south.
The dam remains steady at 220%, as the rain was lower around its catchment last night. The bay smelt like a garden fishpond this morning due to Ross River dam and its several weirs being flushed by major flooding, with up to 20,000 homes at risk of some level of inundation, as tides fluctuate.
The main focus of the heavy rain was north last night and about 500 mm fell on one location ~90 km away, within sustained heavy storms embedded in the northern edge of the monsoon trough. A rate of 83 mm in 30 minutes and 200 mm in two hours was recorded near the towns of Ingham and Mission Beach.
24 hr rainfall to 9am Sunday
Ingham Pump Station 506 mm
Halifax 416 mm
Gairloch 414 mm
Cardwell Gap 309 mm
Mount Margaret 232 mm
South Townsville 226 mm
Mount Bradley 154 mm
Some areas to our NW have received over 2,000 mm at this point.
ABC News: Townsville flood zone could face 'tornado'-strength winds, more rain as records tumble
There’s a lot of relative improvement within the ECMWF forecast for all of north Queensland, but even so it is predicting there’s still about 380mm to come locally. If that’s received the resulting total would be about 150 mm higher than the prior ECMWF forecast for the local area. All up ECMWF seems to predict extreme tropical convergence rainfall accurately, in both scale and geography, but seems less accurate to me at lower end rainfall as it tends to generally over-estimate low rainfalls, IMO.
The cumulative rain forecast is now visibly improving each day:
Current satellite image:
Despite that, it’s far from over, the projected track has the heaviest rain areas not easing until about noon Saturday, 9th Feb, as it finally pulls east of the coast (and yup, we'll still be on the heavy-weather side of that).
It remains a dicey situation.
Despite some optimism this morning the situation is getting much more serious by 4:30 PM. The dam has risen to 241% capacity at 5:00 PM and there's concern expressed now that the situation is becoming unmanageable. Tens of thousands of homes will probably be flooded in the coming days. A flood on a scale that has not been experienced since at least 1938. Heavy storm rains returned from 4 PM, this time falling into the catchment.
ABC: Townsville flood zone, more rain as records tumble
Oh ! It’s remind me when I visited Townsville some years ago... but it was much drier.
Ah, hope you come sailing by again one day, I'm hoping it doesn't get an impromptu face lift as there are about 200,000 people in those houses these days.
Mmmh ... sailing along Queensland coast, good idea but a little bit far from Europe. (At that time it was just a professional trip for sugar cane machinery, but I enjoyed)
For better or worse it looks like we're going to be exploring just how good the dam is tonight, it reached 241% now and the rain is bucketing. Not a good feeling. I'm in a safe location but many aren't. We're on the northern edge of the convergence tonight and that's where all the heavy action was last night.
The flood-gates have been opened to their maximum level, the dam has gone up to 246% (5% in two hours).
Flood Warning for the Ross River
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland
Media: Transmitters serving the Ross, Bohle and Black Rivers are REQUESTED TO USE
THE STANDARD EMERGENCY WARNING SIGNAL BEFORE BROADCASTING THIS MESSAGE.
TOP PRIORITY: The Bureau and Emergency Services would appreciate this message being broadcast regularly.
Major Flood Warning for the Ross River
Major Flood Warning for the Bohle and Flood Warning for the Black River and Bluewater Creek
Issued at 8:10 pm EST on Sunday 3 February 2019
Flood Warning Number: 39
RISK TO LIFE AND PROPERTY
The Ross River dam spillway gates have now opened to their full setting. This setting will release approximately 1900 cubic metres of water per second out of the dam. Dangerous and high velocity flows will occur in the Ross River Sunday night into Monday. Unprecedented areas of flooding will occur in Townsville. Expect access routes to be cut.
Conditions will change rapidly and continuously. Stay informed, look for updates and follow advice of emergency services.
IMPORTANT INFOMATION FROM TOWNSVILLE CITY COUNCIL:
Residents in many suburbs across Townsville are warned that they may experience flooding from rapid rises of the Ross River. This includes Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and South Townsville areas.
Everyone in the above suburbs should ensure they move away from riverbanks and get to higher ground before 8.30pm Sunday night. Residents still in their homes in these suburbs should move to the highest ground in their dwelling before 8.30pm Sunday night.
A map of potential inundated properties has been released by Townsville City Council.
8:30 PM is just two minutes from writing this.
About 20 minutes warning for around 50,000 people to get to higher ground.
Latest News Published by Townsville City Council
For general council news visit here
Spillway gates on dam are fully open
Published on 03/02/2019 20:24
Spillway gates on dam expected to be fully open between 8pm and 8.30pm
Heavy rainfall into the Ross River Dam catchment is expected to push the water level to a height which will automatically open the spillway gates to full between 8pm and 8.30pm.
Residents in the following suburbs should get to higher ground immediately:
This includes Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and South Townsville areas.
If you require evacuation assistance, contact SES on 132 500. For life-threatening emergencies call 000.
For more information listen to local radio, phone 1800 738 541 or visit Council’s Emergency Management Dashboard - http://disaster.townsville.qld.gov.au/
"1900 cubic metres of water per second" is about double what was flowing from the flood-gates this morning. The emergency flood-gates automatically open once water depth reaches ~43 meters.
The tide reached full right on 8:30 PM tonight, just as the flood-gates fully opened up, so the initial full flood surge will reach the bay on a quickly falling tide which will be lowest at 2:37 AM. The tide will be full again at 9:18 AM (3.44 meters). Which will be when the flood level in the suburbs backs-up and fills the low areas and spreads out.
Local rainfall total is 1,129 mm @ 2:20 AM, 4th Feb, 2019.
Townsville annual MEAN rainfall = 1,127.9 mm (1940 to present).
The dam reached 248 % @ 10 PM - steady at 248 % @ midnight.
The embedded thunderstorms that were present last night at around 90 km to 120 km to the NW, have been sitting about 40 km to 50 km NW tonight, and are drifting slowly down the coast to the SSE (visible on Doppler as convergent winds at ~90 degrees).
Date | Rain mm
TOTAL 1134.4 mm
The dam level has fallen to 237% at 7 AM.
A local flood peak is due at 11 AM, in around 2 hrs.
Rain has eased, the onshore flow has moved south. The low is also visibly losing its prior intensity. Drier higher-pressure air will begin to move under its S and SW limb to dry it out a bit more then slowly lift it NNE over the next few days. The cumulative rain forecast looks much better this morning, the end is in sight and the larger falls should begin to decrease.
The forecast is firming for the system to clear the east coast on Friday morning.
Date | Rain mm
TOTAL 1176.6 mm
As it turned out this earlier rain forecast image was accurate, the heaviest rain fell with this basic geographic pattern, though many totals were a bit higher:
The average yearly rainfall fell in 9 days and there are 2.5 months of ‘wet season’ remaining.
Heavier rain is mostly now to the south. The low continues to ‘dry out’ slowly, pressure remains about 993 hPa. Rain totals have all fallen back to much more manageable levels in the region.
The dam is currently at 200% and falling fast. The heaviest rain eased just hours after the emergency flood-gate setting fully opened. The worst of the system should clear the coast on Friday afternoon (3-days from now).
As it turns out it's a rather good dam! ... whew!
10-day rain forecast is much improved though a substantial flood is still predicted:
Friday at noon it will begin to finally clear the coast:
The tropical Low remnant remains in the central Coral Sea through to the 14th of Feb:
We hope it doesn't get any funny ideas .......
Areas of very heavy storms linger.
ECMWF model has been amazingly accurate, it gave the right trend, the right geography, the right scale and conveyed the right early-warning. And Windy has been the right display tool to depict those forecast changes.
The rain is finally coming to an end:
Date | Rain mm
TOTAL 1422.4 mm
Approximately 300 mm higher than ECMWF's highest prediction for the area.
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology - Queensland
TOP PRIORITY FOR IMMEDIATE BROADCAST
Cancellation Severe Weather Warning
For people in North Tropical Coast and Tablelands, Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Herbert and Lower Burdekin, North West, Central Coast and Whitsundays and Central West Forecast Districts.
Issued at 5:15 am Thursday, 7 February 2019.[4 hrs ago]
The risk of widespread heavy rainfall has eased, although thunderstorms with heavy falls are still possible today.
The dam is at 145% (9th Feb 9AM).
Tomorrow afternoon it finally clears the coast moving east:
10 days from now still being a pest in Noumea:
Burdekin Falls Dam
North Queensland rains trigger BOM special climate statement
This was of course just a typical north Queensland ‘Big-Wet’ event. I’ve seen many of them during my life, and they're always extreme events. Especially the epic flooding events during the 1970s, triggered by the then numerous powerful cyclones. And the late 1990s and 2009-2011 period saw similar floods. Only location, intensity and period of rainfall alters in these big-wet events. I have seen several bigger, but they were spread over longer periods, so the effect was lower.
Claims the event is ‘different’ this time, ignores numerous almost identical events within living memory, and also ignores historical documents and records of even bigger events in the past. In earlier events during the 19th century, and early 20th century, whole towns had to be physically moved (shops, houses, businesses the lot) to the tops of local hills, after many hundreds of deaths from giant floods within central and northern Queensland. What occurred this time was just a typical classic ‘big-wet’.
All the rest of the noise about it is media and internet hype, as there is nothing out of the range of natural variability this time. It is smaller than many past events. We experience such events about every 10 years. This weather pattern can last for 2 to 3 summers in a row. It’s usually associated with a fairly warm Gulf of Carpentaria (creating slow-moving monsoon low-pressure centers within a trough in Queensland, and/or Northern Territory) and a cooler than normal Coral Sea (which we presently have). Combined with a blocking-High pattern over the Tasman Sea, which creates persistent SW Pacific trade winds, leading to strong tropical convergence banding and rain areas in North and central Queensland.
This is the classic ‘Big-Wet’ weather pattern, it is nothing new. It’s a recurring ‘decadal’ cycle that creates the classic, “land of droughts and flooding rains”, experiences and typical agricultural boom and bust conditions. Sometimes it occurs more often (the floods occurred several times during the 1970s, triggered by numerous major cyclones), sometimes less. The mid-1980s to late-1990s was strongly drought-dominated, and the Big-Wet pattern was almost absent.
The strongest cyclone events and most persistent ‘Big-Wet’ events usually occur in the cooler years. And the Spring and Summer of 2018-2019 have been particularly cool in North Queensland. However, that same Tasman Sea blocking-High which is a major factor in creating these cooler 'big-wet' conditions, is also a major factor in creating heat-wave conditions within Victoria and South Australia, as very hot central Australian air is drawn back down over the SE city areas, like Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra or Sydney, by the Tasman blocking high.
The main population centers are all in the normally much cooler South Eastern part of Australia, so they scream the loudest about how hot it is within such heat waves, even when it's also cool and pleasant in Queensland (and also cool and pleasant in southern Western Australia this year, and last). That natural balancing pattern, nationally, is however ignored amongst the general heat-wave hysteria that ensues and gets hyped to the max within SE media outlets.
But there’s nothing 'unprecedented' about those heat-waves, nor the routine weather cycle that produces it, because to get the 'big-wet' event you'll likely also get a big heat-wave event in southern states. It's never been any different during all of European settlement history within the continent. So much for the tedious histrionics about ‘climate-change’ doom each time that prosaic cyclic pattern re-occurs.
If we stop making electrons, or driving cars, and take up a 100% indigenous lifestyle, that pattern will not go way. Because humans don't cause it. The ignorance and stupidity of the weather 'debate', pretending to be a climate ‘debate’ within Australia, is more-or-less equivalent to people in the USA claiming that if the USA turned off all of its power stations, and stopped driving all of its cars, then tornadoes would just stop forming and go away. No they won't because the tornadoes were never caused by humans in the first place. Same with heat waves and big-wet rains in Australia.
It’s very unfortunate that such an incredible stupor and ignorance is being created by and then pandered-to plus enabled by politicians, government weather-agencies and a national broadcaster, but it is. The level of official perversity and institutional corruption has no end in sight.
Volunteers drop fodder, supplies by helicopter in fight to save surviving cattle from floods
North Queensland flood emergency brings heroes and heartbreak in equal measure
Latest ECMWF shows this same low-pressure system, now called Tropical Cyclone Oma, is giving an early indication of returning to North Queensland's coastal areas late next week:
Tropical Cyclone OWA - (4 days to landfall)
The system weakens to a very wet rain-depression just prior to landfall.
Another major flood may develop if the forecast holds from here.
Jan 2011 Brisbane flood:
Very annoying monsoonal low ... Part II.
Tropical Cyclone Owa, with sustained winds of 55 kt (i.e. a cyclone in name only). The Coral Sea is a bit too cool this year for it to spin-up.
It's again plotting a forecast path similar to that of 4-days ago. Here’s the center-of-rotation location at 10 AM (local) for each day in the ECMWF forecast period.
Extreme rainfalls indicated around landfall.
Back to the Future!