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Darwin storms: Bureau of Meteorology rain gauge breaks during downpour

By Neda Vanovac, Sunday December 3, 2017 - 15:07 EDT
Audience submitted image
A number of Top End rainfall gauges recorded once-in-50-year levels on Saturday night. - Audience submitted

Darwin's rain gauge broke during record rainfall on Saturday night as multiple storm fronts collided over the Top End.

The remote community of Gunbalanya near Kakadu recorded once-in-50-year rainfall levels, with 101mm falling in just over an hour on Saturday night.

"It was a deluge," NT Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Gabriel Branescu said.

At Gunn Point, just north of Darwin, 110mm of rain fell in just over an hour, also exceeding the once-in-50-year threshold.

"[In] Darwin itself, the rain gauge broke around midnight when it recorded 84mm — the total was 85.2mm at Darwin Airport, so that was a deluge, too," Mr Branescu said.

Adelaide River recorded 99.4mm of rain, and Wadeye received once-in-10-year rainfall of 97mm in an hour on Sunday morning.

'What a show'

Top Enders waited a long time for the weather to break this week, Mr Branescu said.

"For the whole week it was pretty dry," he said.

"We had that trough pushing from the south, clearing the weather in the southern parts of the NT."

The storms formed further inland over the Arnhem region and travelled about 150km west to Darwin.

"They managed to come through in a really good environment — really unstable, really moist over Darwin — so they really managed to light up… What a show," Mr Branescu said.

Sweltering build-up temperatures have now dropped, and at lunchtime on Sunday it was sitting at about 25.5 degrees Celsius in Darwin.

"It's happened only five times in history with temperatures below 26 degrees in December in Darwin," Mr Branescu said.

He said after such a big storm the weather would calm down a bit in time for Carols by Candlelight on Sunday evening.

"Heading towards the afternoon and evening the probability of showers and storms will drop considerably, so probably towards the evening [it] will be 20 per cent [chance] or so, so don't worry about that," he said.


© ABC 2017

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