Weather News

Cyclones possible in Gulf and Coral Sea as low pressure system moves north, BOM says

By Krystal Gordon, Harriet Tatham and staff, Monday March 5, 2018 - 18:10 EDT
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The weather satellite showing the low pressure system over Queensland on Monday morning. - ABC licensed
ABC licensed image
Flooding has trashed the bridge at the Butchers Creek crossing near Corella Park Station. - ABC licensed
ABC licensed image
The track is liquid at the Julia Creek Turf Club. - ABC licensed

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) is factoring in the possibility of up to two cyclones forming in the Gulf of Carpentaria as the low-pressure system bringing rain to north-western Queensland drifts slowly northwards.

The BOM's computer modelling shows two different possibilities, with a "5 to 20 per cent chance" of a cyclone developing later this week.

Forecaster Doug Fraser said as the low-pressure system moved north and over the water, cyclones could form in the Gulf and Coral Sea.

"Certainly, we're looking at the monsoon flow becoming a bit more active into the middle of the week and towards the end of the week," he said.

"Because of that, the possibility of a low in the Coral Sea is also there.

"As a result also of that monsoon trough, we're expecting the rain around the Townsville region to start increasing from Wednesday — just a few showers from this afternoon and tomorrow but from Wednesday the shower activity will pick up and the possibility of thunderstorms will be around as well."

The latest figures from the BOM show Julia Creek recorded the heaviest falls in western Queensland with 127 millimetres falling in the past 24 hours.

Further east, Gregory Springs, north of Hughenden, received 155mm.

Some parts miss out on wet weather

But despite heavy falls soaking the north-west, BOM said the low-pressure system had left some parts of the region surprisingly dry.

Grazier William Seymour, from Split Rock station 70 kilometres from the Queensland-Northern Territory border, said he was disappointed to miss out on the wet weather.

"We had two falls of 5mm and 4mm — so 9mm all up," he said.

"It is a bit disheartening in a way, but you've got to live with it."

Mr Seymour said many of his dams had dried up, forcing him to pump water just to keep his stock alive.

"A few inches [of rainfall] would be great to get a bit of grass growing and to get a bit of surface water happening in my dams," he said.

He said fellow property owners were doing it tough in the dry conditions, but remained hopeful the rain would eventually provide some relief.

"What goes around comes around … you take the good with the bad — hopefully everyone will get some," Mr Seymour said.

Rain still falling in north-west

Jane McMillan from Corella Park Station, west of Cloncury, said roads and hundreds of kilometres of fences were destroyed when her property received 407mm of rain in two days.

"Our major damage is obviously fencing," she said.

"The boys are going to be fencing for a long time. They'll be [doing] at least two months of fencing."

Mrs McMillan said she was still waiting to hear from the Cloncury Shire Council about when the road to town would be repaired.

The road is also used by trucks accessing a nearby mine.

Mrs McMillan said it was important for people in urban centres to understand the drought was not yet over for many people.

"We've had rain but we've still got a lot of friends out at Barkly who haven't had a drop," she said.

She hoped many farmers would get a good soak from a second band of rain approaching the area.

"There's a lot of floodwater heading out onto the flats heading north, so their places are going to be inundated with water from our rain event, so hopefully they can handle that," she said.

Heavy rain is drenching the McKinlay Shire, east of Mount Isa, as the low-pressure system starts to head north.

Mayor Belinda Murphy said they had received decent but patchy falls.

"It's actually quite heavy and quite steady," she said.

"I know in town we've recorded well over 120mm and then with what we're having now.

"I suppose the thing I'm really aware of is not everyone has got this. Up until yesterday, the southern part of our shire had probably only had sort of 10-15mm, so I've heard reports now they've had up over 40mm over the past 24 hours, which is fantastic.

"We live right on the edge of Julia Creek and our paddock is starting to flood — it connects into Julia Creek which is wonderful to see. I haven't seen that for quite a few years now."


© ABC 2018

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