Severe Weather Update: widespread heavy rainfall and flood risk along east coast, 7 February 2020

Severe Weather Update: widespread heavy rainfall and flood risk along east coast, 7 February 2020

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Hello from the Bureau as heavy rainfall
continues along the eastern seaboard with more on the way over the weekend.
The flood risk is evolving, particularly through New South Wales
east of the divide where we’re looking at the potential for flash flooding,
overland flooding and river rises. This includes in areas currently impacted by
fires. By the time the rain ends, many coastal areas of northern New South
Wales will have seen their highest rainfall totals since March 2017 and for others
in southern New South Wales since June 2016. In the 24 hours to 9 am Friday
between 100 and 200 millimetres fell all the way from the Sunshine Coast down
towards the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, with the highest totals focused
between around the Gold Coast and Coffs Harbour, including 283 millimetres at
Byron Bay; 231 millimetres at Bellingen; and 200 millimetres at Evans Head. Even
Manly on Sydney’s North Shore picked up 104 millimetres. Minor flood warnings are
current for the Noosa River in Queensland, as well as the Bellinger and
Kalang rivers and Orara rivers in New South Wales. With more rain on the way
flood watches remain in place for most coastal catchments from southeast
Queensland down to southern New South Wales. It’s possible that flooding will
reach moderate to major levels in the Hawkesbury Nepean catchment and parts of
the South Coast. The low pressure trough continues to deepen near the New South
Wales coast, feeding on warm moist air from the Tasman Sea. An upper trough over
southeast Australia is reinforcing the weather system helping to draw in that
humid moist north easterly airflow. All the ingredients are there for continued
prolonged rain, heavy showers and thunderstorms throughout the weekend and
a severe weather warning is in force for eastern New South Wales. Damaging winds
are possible between around Gosford and Coffs Harbour today, shifting further
south along the coast in the warning area during tonight. Damaging surf may
develop during Saturday afternoon leading to beach erosion, and abnormally
high tides will bring the risk of coastal inundation to some areas
particularly in the mornings. Latest computer model forecasts show the trough
strengthening into the weekend and there’s a chance we could even see an
East Coast Low develop along the trough. Rainfall will intensify and become more
widespread and particularly it will build towards the south. For our fire
grounds where the landscape is so vulnerable right now
this means the risk of falling trees and landslides, and large volumes of runoff
containing debris including ash, soil, trees and rocks.
Along the Central and South Coasts we’re looking at rainfall totals well in
excess of 100 millimetres, potentially into the hundreds of millimetres over
the course of the weekend. It’s hard to imagine fires still burning along the
South Coast following the expected rain. Rainfall further inland though to the
west of the divide will be patchy and hit and miss. Totals will be much lower in
general and while some places along the slopes may see some welcome showers and
storms, others in drought affected areas may see very little at all. So with
weather set to impact much of the east coast this weekend make sure you stay
up to date on our website, app and social media for all the latest forecasts and
warnings. And please follow all advice from emergency services.

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