Recent Floods and Storms
Recent floods and storms of significance in the Sydney Northern Region of NSW
Locations affected by Storms and Floods
An East Coast Low between the 12th and 16th caused heavy rain along the North Coast, resulting in substantial flooding and wind gusts reaching 102 km/hr at Murrurundi Gap. Six communities were evacuated and 16,000 people isolated in the Kempsey and Taree regions, with more than 50 flood rescues performed. Twenty Local Government Areas had Natural Disasters declared as a result of storms and flooding during the month.
A surface trough and thunderstorm activity on the 1st produced widespread rainfall in coastal NSW, with totals of up to 70.2 mm at Hunter Springs to 9am on the 2nd, with further thunderstorms producing rain in eastern NSW between the 10th and 12th.
The most significant rain event of the month occurred between the 22nd and 24th, as an East Coast Low produced heavy rain across much of coastal NSW. Daily falls reached 415.2 mm at Yarras on the 23rd, its wettest day on record for any month, with a 3-day total of over 500 mm, while falls reached 185 mm at Robertson on the 24th. This rain fell on already wet catchments following heavy rain in late January, and was associated with minor to major flooding across the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast and Hunter regions.
Strong winds reached 102 km/h at Murrurrundi Gap, with hail reported in the Central Tablelands and heavy rain of up to 38.6 mm in 30 minutes at Dungog. Waterspouts were reported near Cabarita Beach on the 17th and off Sydney beaches on the 19th.
Rainfall was above average across most of the state, particularly along the south and central coasts, with some stations in the Hunter and Sydney regions recording their wettest April on record.
The most significant rainfall event of the month was an East Coast Low that developed in a surface trough off the Hunter coast on the evening of the 20th. This system caused very heavy rain, strong winds and high seas in the Hunter, Sydney, and Illawarra regions over subsequent days, contributing to widespread flooding as well as numerous downed trees, large scale power outages persisting for several days in some areas, and coastal erosion. Rainfall totals for the 48 hours to 9am on the 22nd were broadly above 200 mm, reaching 436 mm at Maitland, with wind gusts reaching 135 km/h at several coastal locations and waves as high as 14.9 m in waters off Sydney. The SES reported more than 20,000 jobs and more than 150 flood rescues during this event, and hourly rainfall totals of over 100 mm led to major flooding along the Williams and Patersons Rivers, with several communities temporarily isolated by floodwaters. Twelve LGAs were declared Natural Disaster Areas as a result of this event.
Floods - 3 January 2016
Storms - 14 to 15 January 2016
The most significant rainfall event of the month occurred between the 4th and the 6th as a period of onshore flow and developing East Coast Low produced heavy rain in coastal NSW, with three-day rainfall totals as high as 432 mm at Bungwahl. Falls were particularly heavy on the South Coast and in the Hunter Valley, with several stations including Newcastle breaking long-term January daily rainfall records. The heavy rain caused flooding in several areas including major flooding in the Paterson and Williams rivers, with 33 flood rescues performed by the NSW SES.
Severe thunderstorms also produced locally heavy rain and strong winds throughout the month, notably over 14-15, 21-22 and 25 January, with particularly strong winds damaging properties near Singleton on the 22nd. The month ended with a surface trough that drew tropical moisture into the state from the 27th, generating rain and thunderstorms.