Tomorrow will see the start of the annual Clash of the Paddles (formerly know as the Hamilton Cup) in the Whitsundays.
This year's event will be marked by strong winds adding to the challenging conditions of one of the toughest outrigger canoe events in the world.
Late last Monday, a low developed over the northern Coral Sea which combined with a high over the Tasman to funnel very strong winds along the Mackay Coast, including the Whitsundays.
Strong southeasterly winds brought steady showers on Monday to the Whitsundays. Hamilton Island Airport registered 69.8mm of rain to 9am on Tuesday and wind gusts of up to 96km/h early that morning. This amount of rainfall made it Hamilton Island's wettest June day since records began 12 years ago. With 132 mm, June 2014 has now seen 75 mm above the June average, 41mm shy of the wettest June on record (2006).
Yesterday, rain eased with only 30mm to 9am this morning. Winds, although weaker, remained near-gale force, averaging 40-60 km/h throughout most of the day and gusting to nearly 80km/h just before midnight.
Over the next four days of competition outriggers will be joined by kayakers, surf skiers, stand up paddlers, dragon boarders and board paddlers. As the low weakens and drifts north towards the Solomon Sea, winds will gradually ease but remain fresh to strong leading to moderate waves. These winds will drop to about 15 to 20km/h on Saturday before strengthening again on Sunday. Rain and showers, on the other hand, will return on Saturday but the sun is likely to shine on the winners, come Sunday.
© Weatherzone 2014
18:16 EST Heavy rain has stranded about 40 people at William Creek in the South Australian outback due to flooded roads and low cloud has grounded aircraft.