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Flood watch: BOM issues severe weather warning for northern Tasmanian regions

By Aneeta Bhole and Carla Howarth, Saturday May 20, 2017 - 17:20 EST
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Authorities are cautious. but they are not expecting a repeat of the devastating June 2016 floods. - ABC licensed

Parts of Tasmania's north have been drenched by 100 millimetres of rain Friday night and Saturday.

The weather bureau has issued a severe warning for heavy rainfall in the north-west and parts of the north-east, east coast and central plateau for Saturday.

A flood watch has also been issued for all northern river basins.

Tasmania's State Emergency Service has warned people to take care on the roads, but it is expecting the wild weather to pass by late Saturday.

Regional officer for the North West region, Anthony Dick, said crews would remain on standby for any requests for assistance.

"We're not expecting major flooding," he said.

"There may be rises in the rivers up to a minor level [and] we are expecting there will be a lot of water on the roads.

"Small creeks and streams are likely to flood but we expect that ... will be starting to clear by late [Saturday].

"We only had one request for assistance for a minor issue from a lady who had water coming from her roof, and crews attended the incident."

Bureau expects northern state soaking

The bureau's Mathew Thomas said Saturday was looking wet for all Tasmanians, but especially those in the north.

"We've had some impressive rain over the state overnight [Friday]," he said.

"There has been 66mm on Flinders Island, and the bulk of that's fallen since about 9:00pm last night [Friday].

"So we're expecting around 40mm to 80mm in the north-west until late [Saturday] afternoon [and] we might see about 80mm to 100mm in some remote locations, with some thunderstorms expected.

"And about 20mm to 40mm is expected elsewhere in the northern half of Tasmania."

Rainfall 'eased back': forecaster

Mr Thomas said the severe weather warning would be current for most of Saturday, but rainfall seemed to have "eased back".

With concerns

"That was an exceptional event, this is a significant event, but it's not likely to be on the same scale," he said.

North-easterly wind gusts between 70 and 80 kilometres per hour are possible for the state's north-west, and State Emergency Service northern regional manager Mhairi Bradley has urged residents to be prepared.

"It's the first good rain of the season and we really want to be mindful of people's safety," she said.

"Today people should strap down outdoor furniture and items so that they're safe in advance of tomorrow."

Ms Bradley said the heavy rainfall was expected to ease up across the state by Sunday night.

"In some ways it's a nice short, sharp event that actually serves as a good reminder that winter is well and truly here, and it's time to be storm and flood ready."

In June last year, thousands were told to evacuate parts of the state's north, as high alerts were issued for floodwaters in Launceston.

Major northern river systems rose from record rain killing three people.

Flood-affected farmers lost thousands of animals, including entire herds of cattle.


© ABC 2017

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