Category Archives: drought

Extended period of little or no precipitation

Rain and storms continues into new year 1-3 January 2021

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Rain and storms continues into new year 1-3 January 2021

The system that brought rain and storms to much of eastern New South Wales at the end of December 2020 has continued into the first 3 days of January 2021. One positive is that large areas of the inland has now received some rainfall from the system as expected.

Some notable storm events have occurred over recent days which has caused disruption, localized flash flooding and or wind damage. Some affected towns and cities include:-

1 - Warrnambool (SW Victoria) - Rare storm events have resulted in heavy rainfall totals of 53 mm for the 24 hours to 9 am 3/1/2021.

2 - Broken Hill (Western New South Wales). Reported in the media 2/1/2021 that a number of thunderstorms occurred some of which brought hail of between 2 cm and 4 cm including flash flooding of low lying areas.

3 - Parkes (Central West of NSW) - 2/1/2021. A thunderstorm impacted the town between 4.41 pm and 4.58 pm that brought wind gusts to 158 km/h. The local weather station recorded the peak wind gusts between 4.43 pm and 4.48 pm as well as rainfall being - 4.41 pm (0.0 mm), 4.43 pm (4.4 mm) - (That is 4.4 mm of rain in 2 minutes), 4.48 pm (21.6 mm). This is 17.2 mm in approximately 5 minutes or 21.6 mm in 7 minutes. By 4.58 pm, 31 mm had fallen from the same storm.

Other notable rainfall events within the Central West slopes and plains include 38 mm at Dubbo 115 km to the north.

Isolated rainfall totals of 65 mm fell at Portable in the Riverina of New South Wales, 62 mm at Okeh in north west New South Wales, 53 mm at Glenorchy (North west of Glenn Innes) as well as falls of 29 to 61 mm around Wollongong and Kiama on the Illawarra coast.

Last week, it was stated that there was elevated fire risk at Albury and a fire was observed on a hillside in the distance. Overnight falls of 20 mm here as well as 28 mm at Hume Dam would have been beneficial to suppress the fire danger for the short term.

The rain events and recent storms has contributed to much of New South Wales receiving average to better than average rainfall totals for the year 2020 as shown in the plots below produced on the Bureau of MeteorologyWater and The Land” site although when reviewing the Rainfall anomalies for 2020, it becomes clear that much of western and southern New South Wales is only receiving average to slightly below average rainfall. While no part of New South Wales is currently in drought, there is a risk of these areas falling back into drought for the longer term if further rainfall is not received.

Rain and storms continues into new year 1-3 January 2021

Given that the plots are for the period 1 January 2020 to the 31 December 2020, the rain and storms that impacted Broken Hill and surrounds on the 2/1/2021 will benefit the region further and the local water supply.

Rain and storms continues into new year 1-3 January 2021

Images January 2020 Bushfires west of Sydney

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Images January 2020 Bushfires west of Sydney

The photos attached to this post are taken just south of Penrith NSW and around Warragamba Dam.

During December 2019 and January 2020 vast areas of the Blue Mountains west of Sydney and areas around Silverdale and Warragamba Dam were scorched by bushfires and between October 2019 and February 2020 plumes of smoke covered large areas of Sydney for days at a time.

Images January 2020 Bushfires west of Sydney

The images attached to this post were taken during January 2020 showing one of the out of control bushfires burning close to the township of Warragamba and the evening sunset image was taken just south of Penrith NSW.

Images January 2020 Bushfires west of Sydney

According to Australian Geographic (March / April 2020 edition, Page 45) the fires across eastern Australia burnt approximately 16 million hectares, with 5,900 buildings destroyed, some 250,000 people required to evacuate (including my parents and my wife and I at Batemans Bay on December 31 2019), some 140 aircraft used during the crises, over 3,000 homes lost, large numbers of animals killed (Exact toll will never be known) and 33 fatalities. The full economic losses are still being worked out.

Images January 2020 Bushfires west of Sydney

West of Sydney, more than 80% of the World Heritage listed Greater Blue Mountains area was impacted. The bushfire crises came to an end during the early part of February 2020 as a result of a major rain event and a reversal of the weather systems in play.

Images January 2020 Bushfires west of Sydney

At the time the images were taken in January 2020, my my wife and I were watching this fire burn from a safe distance and occasionally watching aircraft make low level water bombing.

Pyrocumulus Time-Lapse of the Green Wattle Fire 4th January 2020 during record heat wave conditions

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Pyrocumulus Time-Lapse of the Green Wattle Fire 4th January 2020 during record heat wave conditions

 

The Green Wattle Fire burned through thousands of hectares of land. Spectacular national parks and wilderness went up in flames! The pyrocumulus timelapse filmed here is the of the Green Wattle Fire.  The bush fire had been going for many weeks but it consequently flared up once more. The whole region was devastated. Pyrocumulus clouds developed when strong fire plumes rise. As smoke rises it finally cools to a temperature that allows the smoke particles to condense into cloud.

Coincidentally, Penrith recorded a temperature of 48.9C  -  a greater Sydney record set in 1939! Incredibly, it was so hot you could fry an egg!

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