Category Archives: Photos

Photo mainly of storms and weather

Cold outbreak – Snow, Cold, Rain and Wind – SE Australia 8 to 11 June 2021

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During August 2019, a significant cold outbreak occurred over Southern Australia that brought low level snow falls to the Blue Mountains including Katoomba and Leura as well as elevated areas of the Central Tablelands. My wife and I documented this event and for the first time ever, I saw snowfall at Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath and Mt Victoria.

The three photos attached are taken from this event. Roads were closed due to icy conditions and snow fell to low levels relatively close to Sydney.

There was also a similar event during the winter of 2020 and now another similar event has just occurred. During the period 8 to 11 June 2021, low level snow fell again across the Blue Mountains, the Central Tablelands and even elevated areas of the Northern Tablelands. In addition, the Snowy Mountains saw heavy snow falls to coincide with the start of the ski season.

The snow images seen in the above photos were again replicated at Leura, Katoomba, Blackheath and Mt Victoria. Generally, snow fell above 850 metres in elevation, roads were closed and icy conditions prevailed.

However this event was remarkable in that Sydney (Observatory Hill) saw its coldest day in decades in which the maximum temperature reached 10.3C following a minimum of just 6.7C (10/6/2021). However what is more remarkable is that this temperature occurred under northern winds. Frigid air was circulating around an intense low pressure cell so that the northerly winds had in fact originated from the south.

It reached a maximum of just 8.9C at Horsley Park and 9.5C at Parramatta.

It is suggested in the media that this could have been the coldest day in 37 years while other media reports suggests that it has not been this cold since 1899.

Some old weather records for Sydney have been reviewed and it is determined that the recent cold day is not the coldest ever recorded for the city as there have been colder days. However, cold days where the maximum temperature fails to reach 10C are rare. Sydney has grown over the years and there are records for Sydney Observatory Hill going back to 1859 and hence the coldest winter days have been:-

Maximum 7.7C on the 19 July 1868.

Maximum 9.1C on the 9 August 1872.

Maximum 9.7C on the 13 June 1899.

Maximum 9.5C on the 8 September 1869.

There is suggestion of a very rare cold day on the 28 June 1836 as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald and around 6 am, the temperature was around 38F (Roughly 3.3C) and it began to snow in the morning with the snow lasting a few hours. It is claimed that the maximum temperature reached 50F (Roughly 9C later that day). This cold day occurred 23 years before weather records began. This event is controversial as there are questions as to whether it was soft hail or actual snow and what instruments were being used to record the temperatures. Either way, the 28 June 1836 was a cold day but whether it was actual snow or soft hail will probably never be known.

The cold day Sydney just experienced was not the coldest on record, but it is rare to see such low temperatures given Sydney’s location and its climate.

There is an account of the 1836 event attached to this post and the fact that snow is suggested in the forecast or weather conditions being experienced for Sydney does make it significant.

The coldest maximum temperature that can be found for Richmond is 9.5C on the 13/7/2011. It reached 8.3C on Thursday which would make it a new maximum low for this weather station and colder than the 11.5C recorded as the maximum day temperature for the 27 June 2007. Records only go back to 1994 at this weather station.

Other low maximum day temperatures for Thursday include:-

Sydney region

Parramatta 9.5C.

Horsley Park 8.9C.

Penrith 8.3C.

Regional and Rural New South Wales (Including)

Albury Airport - 9.8C.

Armidale 5.6C (At Armidale, it reached 7.6C on the 9/6/21 and 9.7C on the 11/6/21).

Cooma 3.2C with a minimum of 0.0C.

Glenn Innes 5.1C.

Goulburn 6.9C with a minimum of -1.7C.

Orange -0.3C to a maximum of 3C.

Oberon -2C to 5.2C.

Rainfall

The same system also brought some significant rain to certain areas. While Sydney received light to moderate falls some of the rainfall that occurred elsewhere was remarkable given location.

Victoria

An area to the south of the Great Dividing Range but east of Melbourne received some heavy rainfall which resulted in flooding. Flooding was observed around Taralgon as well. Some of the heaviest falls for the 24 hours to the 10 June 2021 include:-

Thompson Yarra Divide - 241 mm.

Licola - 170 mm.

Noojee - 154 mm.

Reeves Knob - 144 mm.

The hilly areas of outer Melbourne’s east received between 50 and 100 mm. In addition to the rain, power was lost and trees were brought down due to wind and a clean up is currently underway.

New South Wales

Perisha Valley - 62 mm (Mostly as snow).

Thredbo - 50 mm (Mostly as snow).

A rain event across parts of the Central West of New South Wales saw good totals of up to 42 mm falling including 42 mm at Dubbo, 40 mm at Barina, 38 mm at Neura and 36 mm at Coonabarabran.

Wind

There were instances of wind damage and trees being felled especially across snow affected areas and across southern Victoria. However, the strongest wind gusts occurred at Mt William (The Grampians) where a single gust of 115 km/h occurred. Further, the lighthouse at Wilsons Promontory recorded one wind gust of 111 km/h at 2.30 am on the 10/6/2021 and the Puckapunyal West (Defense) weather station recorded a single gust to 111 km/h at 3 am on the same day.

At Mt Buller, peak winds gusts reached between 104 to 107 km/h for the 10/6/2021.

As such, this was a dynamic weather system that has created a wind range of weather that has disrupted large swathes of South East Australia. During Friday, conditions moderated dramatically allowing for a clean up to occur including a gradual warming of daytime temperatures.

Hawkesbury River Flood – The aftermath – 26 March 2021

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Floodwaters are now receding and the extent of the damage is becoming obvious. My wife and I returned to Windsor Friday afternoon 26 March 2021 to view the water levels. Floodwaters at that time were still high but receding and the new Windsor Bridge was clearly visible again.

Much rubbish, litter, tree branches and furniture items had washed downstream and unlike last Sunday, the floodwaters now had a distinct brown muddy colour and an odour.

Roads were still closed including the Windsor Bridge with assessors viewing the bridge for damage and with cleaning crews undertaking a mammoth cleaning task.

Floodwaters rose at least 2 metres in height along the Windsor Riverwalk and much scouring of soil had occurred. A distinct brown mark had been left on trees to show how high the waters came.

The cleanup will take some time and insurance costs will take time to tally. Preliminary estimates would suggest that this event will exceed $1 billion but it is too early to verify this. This event has been declared a catastrophe.

The extent of the flooding on Thursday can clearly be seen on this NASA Worldview image at a scale of 10 km from Earth orbit. The flood is seen as a muddy brown river with the floodwaters across North West Sydney clearly visible.

The photos attached show some of the cleanup that is needed at Windsor Bridge and other locales and there is a need to remove debris and even entire trees that had toppled over.

The rain event that caused this was prolonged across 5 or 6 days which is unusual and many coastal localities received more than 300 mm of rain with some areas receiving more than 400 mm of rain.

There are exceptions to this including Mt Seaview which received 815 mm of rain in 5 days during this event, Kempsey has received 819 mm of rain in 19 days this month including 758 mm of rain during the event.

All photos attached to this event were taken Friday afternoon 26 March 2021 around Windsor.

Hawkesbury River Major Flooding – 21 to 24 March 2021

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The Hawkesbury River basin in western Sydney at the base of the Blue Mountains passes through Penrith, Richmond and Windsor. Within this area, a number of flood plains exist that are prone to flooding and there have been numerus floods recorded over the years.

The topography of the river basin contributes to the flooding in which there are five tributaries but only one outlet to let the water out.

Since 1961, there have been 29 floods recorded with the 1961 event being the largest since the construction of Warragamba Dam.

Perhaps the most significant flood according to known records is the 23 June 1867 event where a flood peak of approximately 19.7 metres was recorded at Windsor. Windsor, Richmond, and Pitt Town at that time became small islands according to records. It is also understood that 12 people from the Eather Family were killed during this event.

The largest flood since the construction of Warragamba Dam was the November 1961 event in which waters reached at least 14.2 metres (Some articles suggest up to 14.5 metres) in height at Windsor.

The current flood along the river while a significant event (Most likely a 1 in 50 year event) does not and will not reach the levels of 1961 or 1867.

The current flood peak appears to have passed with the river reaching a maximum flood peak of 12.48 metres at Windsor SWC and 12.93 metres at Windsor PWD and there is evidence to suggest that the river level may have started to fall although slowly.

It is identified on the attached graph that the major flood level at Windsor Bridge is 12.2 metres and as at 7.16 pm Wednesday evening, the river has been at major flood level for over 57 hours. This is a considerable amount of time for the river to be at major flood level.

The new Windsor Bridge which was thought to be high enough has failed its first major test with the bridge being submerged especially across the western side.

The images attached to this post were taken on Sunday afternoon prior to the maximum flood peak occurring.

This is certainly a major event with significant damage across the region to homes, infrastructure and cropping land and it is known that insurance will become an issue over coming days as claims are made.

On Tuesday 23 March, Cumberland City Council engineers explained to me in graphic detail the true potential for flooding for this area using the latest available flood maps. It is clear that higher floods have the potential to engulf much more of Richmond and Windsor urban area than that seen at the present time and it must be emphasized that this appears to be a 1 in 50 year event.

Heavy rain has again been a feature although a significant clearing trend passed over Sydney after 3 pm on Tuesday afternoon with the rain ceasing and cloud clearing out to sea. This will allow a cleanup to commence as flood waters recede.

For the 24 hours to 9 am 22/3/2021 the most significant rainfalls were:-

Sydney region

Kurrajong Heights - 147 mm

Colo Heights - 105 mm

Shanes Park - 90 mm

Penrith - 88 mm.

North Coast

Mt Seaview - 203 mm.

Woolgoolga - 182 mm.

Kempsey - 180 mm.

Elands - 174 mm.

Utungun - 172 mm

Coffs Harbour - Up to 182 mm.

Willina - 166 MM.

Such scenes are repeated up and down the New South Wales coast and even into south east Queensland with significant flood events on other north coast rivers occurring simultaneously.

For the 24 hours to 9 am 24/3/2021, the most significant rainfalls were limited to the far south coast including:-

Mt Darragh 162 mm.

Bodalla 127 mm.

Brogo Dam 116 mm.

Rainfall across Sydney eased considerably Tuesday with the highest total occurring at Stone Quarry Creek being 74 mm  and up to 35 mm around Campbelltown in the south west and at Portable to the north west.

The rainfall has ceased across most of New South Wales and affected areas which will now allow for a cleanup to commence which will take considerable time.

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