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Anthony Sharwood, 16 Mar 2022, 5:37 AM UTC

Man dies in floodwaters in Broken Hill deluge

Man dies in floodwaters in Broken Hill deluge

The outback NSW city of Broken Hill has had its heaviest rain in a decade, with some locals claiming it was the heaviest on record, as severe storms swept through town on Tuesday evening.

A total of 72.4 mm fell at the official BoM weather station at Broken Hill Airport on the southern fringe of town. But a few kilometres further north in the centre of town, locals with weather gauges reported twice that much, according to the ABC.

Whatever precise totals of rain fell in various parts of town between about 4 pm and 11 pm on Tuesday evening, it left the city awash. Streets turned to mud, then swift-flowing rivers, as cars began floating through the centre of town.

Tragically, a 56-year-old man was killed when he was trying to help friends in floodwaters. The man became trapped in a pipe and was unable to be revived when authorities found him.

Broken Hill has no underground storm water drainage system, which is the main reason why water was flowing so swiftly and dangerously through town.

Image: Locals aren't used to this sort of thing. Source: Kirsti Miller.

Broken Hill Local Kirsti Miller, who supplied some of the images on this story, told Weatherzone she has travelled all over the world and experienced cyclone weather, but this storm was as fierce as anything she has experienced in her 57 years.

"Most of the houses out here are made of corrugated iron and we couldn't here ourselves think," she said. "Between the rain and thunderstorms, the house was shaking."

Broken Hill rainfall stats

  • The city receives an average of 246 mm annually, relatively evenly dispersed throughout the year.
  • The wettest month is January with 27.6 mm on average
  • The driest month is June with 14.9 mm on average.
  • The March average is 20.1 mm, and yesterday’s total brought this month’s accumulated rainfall up to 107.8 mm – more than five times the monthly average.


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