‘Triple digits’: North Queensland set for big wet
HEAVY rainfall is expected for central and northern parts of the state over coming days, with some regions expected to receive totals in the "triple digits" - but the reprieve won't break the drought.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting a "pretty wet" couple of days ahead for northern Queensland, as a tropical low pressure system currently sits south of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
Forecaster Kimba Wong said a severe weather warning for heavy rainfall was in place around the Gulf Country, with the previous warning for Townsville cancelled, temporarily quelling fears of another devastating repeat of the floods from last year in the region.
The Gulf Country was expected to see six-hourly totals of between 100mm and 200mm today.
⚠️SEVERE WEATHER WARNING⚠️ Heavy rainfall likely to develop later today around the Gulf Country with 6-hourly totals of 100-200mm likely, heavier totals are possible with thunderstorms. A flood watch and warning is current. Warnings: https://t.co/wOUFWQRWls pic.twitter.com/uRO1mFqW09— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) January 27, 2020
Ms Wong said a flood watch was in place for a broad area across northern Queensland, including the Gulf and coastal catchments between Ingham and Mackay, with the potential for flash flooding.
"We are starting to see the monsoon become a bit more active over northern Australia and we're expecting the monsoon trough to become a little more established over northern Queensland and western parts of the Coral Sea through early parts of this week," she said.
"Associated with the monsoonal flow is the increase in showers and thunderstorms about the northern parts of the state.
"For today and tomorrow, the focus will be on the northwest in the Gulf Country as well as some chance of isolated heavier rainfall totals with severe storms in the central parts of the state, around central west stretching up towards the Townsville area but maybe not right to the coast.
"So more around the Charters Towers area which is most favourable for severe thunderstorms this afternoon."
But, BOM says the forecast for Townsville will "not be like the flooding we saw last year".
"Certainly nothing like the flooding we saw in Townsville last year - what we had last year was about two metres of rain in over about a 10 day period - we're really expecting rainfall totals to be much lower than that and over a much shorter period of time so certainly not the devastating flooding we saw last year," Ms Wong said.
Ms Wong said despite high rainfall totals in areas of the state, including overnight totals of 102mm near Longreach and 103mm at Nelly Bay on Magnetic Island, the forecast wouldn't be drought breaking.
"We are looking at some pretty healthy rainfall totals across some very drought stricken catchments," she said.
⛈️TODAY'S THUNDERSTORM FORECAST⛈️ Severe storms with heavy rainfall likely for inland central Queensland today, possible about central, northern & southwest parts of the state. Damaging winds also possible with storms in the Channel Country. Warnings: https://t.co/FBmpsInT9o pic.twitter.com/QrC6fnzHM5— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) January 27, 2020
"What we are looking at though is multiyear rainfall deficiencies across wide parts of the state so while it's a step in the right direction, it's not drought breaking just yet.
"We're looking at a pretty broad area through the central and northern parts of the state over the next couple of days that could see heavy rainfall totals coming out of thunderstorms so that's basically anywhere north of the central west Longreach over the coming days could see some rainfall totals getting into the triple digits.
"We have had quite high rainfall totals around Cairns, the north tropical coast and Tablelands as well and those higher totals have been more isolated with thunderstorm activity but we have seen triple figures in a number of locations around there."
Ms Wong said over the next few days, the system would move further north with heavy rainfall totals and thunderstorms forecast across the Peninsula.
Moderate flood warnings remain in place for the Paroo River and Upper Flinders River while Gulf Rivers, Upper Georgina River, Upper Diamantina River, Upper Thomson River and Burdekin River are on flood watch.