Slow-moving low pressure system floods New South Wales, Australia

Slow-moving low pressure system floods New South Wales, Australia

A slow-moving low pressure system near Port Stephens (Hunter Region), New South Wales, Australia produced very heavy rain between January 5 and 6, 2016, causing both riverine and flash flooding from the Central Coast to the Mid North Coast. The severe weather has led to evacuations, rescues and hundreds of calls for help. One person is considered missing.

“We have already seen falls in excess of 250 mm (9.84 inches) near Bulahdelah, with further localised very heavy falls and dangerous flash flooding possible. Damaging winds are possible along the coast, with surf conditions expected to be dangerous,” Mr Stephen Lellyett, Australian Bureau of Meteorology Acting New South Wales Regional Director, said.

"In Newcastle, Nobby's weather station recorded the wettest three-day rainfall total for January, and that's records going back to 1862," BOM's senior climatologist Agata Imielska said.

"They had 273.4 mm (10.76 inches) for the last three days. In fact, the wettest day was 200.6 mm (7.89 inches) and that was recorded over 24 hours to 09:00  to January 6, 2016 — so that's the wettest January day on record there."

Newcastle roads were turned into rivers of fast-moving water as emergency crews dealt with about 2 000 requests for assistance, including 800 across the Hunter region, ABC reported.

Read more: Heavy downpours break January records in New South Wales, Australia  - TW report published January 4, 2016

Hunter region flooding on January 6, 2016. Credit: @HunterWater

Evacuations were carried out in Raymond Terrace and the town of Dungog, one of the worst-hit areas when floods struck in April 2015 after 300 mm (11.81 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours. Flash floods ripped through the heart of the town, dragging houses with it. Three people were killed in the torrent. Homes, businesses, roads and bridges all suffered severe damage, FloodList reminded.

Rainfall totals for the 24 hours to 09:00 local time, January 6 include:

  • Bungwahl (near Bulahdelah) 255 mm (10.03 inches)
  • Upper Chichester (near Barrington Tops) 239 mm (9.40 inches)
  • Wallsend 230 mm (9.05 inches)
  • Macquarie College 228 mm (8.97 inches)
  • Merewether 225 mm (8.85 inches)
  • Williamtown Airport 223 mm (8.77 inches)
  • Nobbys Head 201 mm (7.91 inches)
  • Dungog 188 mm (7.40 inches)
  • Frenchs Forest 129 mm (5.07 inches)

By late Wednesday (UTC time), the immediate threat of severe weather had passed, with conditions easing around the state.

Featured image: Hunters Region flood - January 6, 2016. Credit: NSW/SES

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