Queensland floods break records

Fri Mar 5 201010 days by Gabrielle Dunlevy

 

Widespread heavy rain in Queensland has broken the record for saturating the largest area of land.

 

The weather system drowning Queensland has broken yet another record – this time for the area of land saturated by heavy rain, set 54 years ago.

 

The Bureau of Meteorology on Friday issued a special statement on the rains, which have flooded an area of Queensland larger than Victoria, and gave central Australia its best rainfall since 2001.

 

The bureau says the rain event began on February 22 when a strong low pressure system developed over the Top End within a monsoon trough.

 

From last Sunday (February 28), the monsoon low moved into southwest Queensland, bringing widespread heavy rain, which then moved further east.

 

The rain event broke the Australian record for the area receiving 100 millimetres of rain or more.

 

Daily totals exceeded 100 millimetres over 1.9 per cent of Australia on Tuesday, breaking the previous record of 1.7 per cent set on December 22, 1956.

 

Last Sunday was the wettest day on record for the Northern Territory, with a territory-wide average of 29.23 millimetres.

 

Tuesday set a new record for Queensland, with a statewide average of 31.74 millimetres.

 

Over the 10-day period to Wednesday, the bureau says an estimated 403 cubic kilometres – or 403,000 gigalitres – of rain fell across the NT and Queensland.

 

Compared to the last similar floods in April 1990, peak rainfall amounts have been smaller but heavy rains have covered a much larger area.

 

Bedourie and Birdsville in the Channel Country of western Queensland, both recorded their average yearly rainfall in one day.

 

For central Australia, February was one of the wettest months since January 2001.

 

Alice Springs Airport recorded 61 millimetres of rain on February 24, its wettest day since 30 January 2001.

 

That record was quickly broken last Sunday, when the airport was hit with another 66 millimetres.

 

A number of stations in the Alice Springs area recorded a year’s worth of rainfall in the 11 days to Thursday.