Weather News

Dangerous storms to hit southeastern Australia on Friday

Ben Domensino, Thursday February 4, 2021 - 16:31 EDT

Heavy rain, damaging winds and severe thunderstorms are likely to affect parts Victoria, NSW and Tasmania on Friday.

A dynamic low pressure system and associated low pressure trough will interact with tropical moisture to cause widespread rain and storms in southern and southeastern Australia between Thursday and Saturday.

The early stages of this volatile weather event were playing out on Thursday, with rain spreading over South Australia as thunderstorms bubbled up across NSW and southern QLD. Satellite imagery clearly showed the low pressure system spinning over the Great Australian Bight on Thursday afternoon, drawing warm moisture-laden air in from the north and much colder air from the south.

Image: Satellite with lightning strikes on Thursday afternoon, showing thunderstorms over eastern Australia and a low pressure system spinning over the Great Australian Bite.

While Thursday’s storms prompted warnings in some areas, Friday will feature more intense severe weather, across multiple states.

The low over the Bight will deepen and move further east on Friday, causing a low pressure trough to deepen and drift over southeastern Australia. This trough and low will cause rain and thunderstorms over parts of South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, southern and western NSW and southwest Queensland on Friday.

The atmosphere will have all of the ingredients for severe thunderstorms on Friday, particularly over northern Tasmania, central and eastern Victoria and southern and western NSW. Some areas could even see supercell thunderstorms, which are very dangerous rotating storms that can produce flash flooding, destructive winds and giant hail. Supercells aren’t guaranteed on Friday, but they are an elevated risk.

Image: Forecast accumulated precipitation on Friday, according to the ECMWF model. This shows the general regions where rain and thunderstorms are likely to occur.

As of 4pm AEST on Thursday, severe weather warnings had already been issued in northern Tasmania and central and northeastern Victoria for Friday. Flood watches were also in place for northern Tasmania and northeast Victoria.

Conditions should ease in Tasmania and Victoria by Saturday morning, although rain and potentially severe thunderstorms will continue to spread over the eastern half of NSW and inland Queensland on Saturday.

Numerous severe weather and thunderstorm warnings will be issued during the next couple of days as this dynamic weather event unfolds. Be sure to keep up to date with the latest advisories in your area.

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