Weather Update: Tropical Cyclone Owen in QLD, & heavy rain & flooding in SE Australia, 15 Dec. 2018


Hello from the Bureau with an update on two
major weather systems we’ve been following: Tropical Cyclone Owen in northern Queensland,
and storms across the eastern seaboard and heavy rain for Tasmania. Tropical Cyclone Owen crossed the Queensland
Gulf coast as a Category 3 system just north of Gilbert River Mouth around 3 AM on Saturday
morning. Dorunda has already recorded 200 mm, and there’s
more to come with a tropical cyclone warning for gales and further heavy rainfall current
as of Saturday afternoon over inland Cape York Peninsula, including Croydon and Georgetown. We’re still expecting Owen to weaken to a
tropical low by this evening, but it will remain a potentially high impact system as
it continues moving south-east. A severe weather warning for damaging winds
and heavy rainfall is current for the tropical north east coast, including Cairns and Townsville. Heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding will
be a major concern, with totals in excess of 200mm possible. A flood watch is current for catchments across
northern Queensland in anticipation of widespread riverine rises. Through Sunday, we’ll see ex- tropical cyclone
Owen move offshore and track down the coast. This will bring severe winds and heavy rainfall
to locations such as Bowen and Proserpine, and that severe weather warning will likely
extend southwards. By Monday, there is some uncertainty as to
how the tropical low will behave. All cyclones can be erratic in their movement
and development and as this animation shows, there is still a range of possibilities still
on the cards, and things may play out differently in the Coral Sea early next week. And given marginally favourable conditions,
there is a low to moderate chance of redevelopment. Owen isn’t the only weather system that forecasters
are keeping an eye on. Rewinding back to Friday, and south-east Queensland,
eastern New South Wales and much of Victoria were pummelled by severe thunderstorms along
a trough connected to this low pressure system. Impressive rainfall totals were recorded including
116 mm at Maroochydore, 61 at Mount Ginini and 41 in Melbourne, 32 of which fell within
15 minutes leading to flash flooding across the city. For today, we’re again expecting severe thunderstorms
over a similar area, possibly impacting Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. So keep an eye on any warnings if you are
in the eastern states. Focus will also shift to Tasmania as a rain
band extends through the state bringing humid conditions, heavy rainfall and thunderstorms
through both Saturday and Sunday. A severe weather warning for heavy rain has
been issued for Tasmania’s north-east including the Furneaux Islands, where weekend totals
of 100-150 mm are possible. A broader flood watch is also current for
northern catchments and there is a moderate flood warning for the South Esk River. So with a lot going on weather-wise from far
north Queensland right down to Tasmania, it’s important to keep up to date with warnings
and forecasts from the Bureau, and as always, follow all advice from emergency services.

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