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Ex-tropical Cyclone “Esther” dumps a month’s worth of rain on Melbourne– city’s highest March rainfall since 1929, Australia

melbourne-flood-march-5-2020

More than a month's worth of rain brought by the remnants of Ex-tropical Cyclone "Esther" soaked Melbourne overnight March 5, 2020, resulting in widespread flooding and major damage to buildings. The city recorded 54.6 mm (2.1 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period, which is higher than the city's usual total for the entire month of March. The amount was also the highest rainfall for the month since 1929.

The system produced flash flooding, toppled trees, and damaged buildings and properties. The state emergency service had to attend to more than 300 calls, mostly for ruined establishments and vehicles submerged in water.

According to state response controller Alistair Drayton, it took only 10 to 15 mm (0.4 to 0.6 inches) of water for smaller cars to float. Motorists were advised to take extreme caution and avoid driving through inundated roads.

Rail travel disruptions were also reported, including the Hurstbridge line which was temporarily suspended and Burnley Station which saw major inundations.

The heavy downpour was dumped by the remnants of Ex-tropical Cyclone "Esther," which traveled from northern Australia to the southeast. Meteorologists said they did not expect it to reach as far as Melbourne.

"It is particularly unusual because usually, these sorts of troughs weaken out before they make it this far south," said Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) duty forecaster Miriam Bradbury.

"They generally move east or die off, but this one has moved down to the southeast, so that's why we're getting tropical moisture and humidity."

BOM meteorologist Peter Otto said the amount of rainfall that hit Melbourne was the highest rainfall for March since 1929. The average rainfall for Victoria in March is 50.1 mm (1.97 inches).

According to meteorologist Jane Bunn, there will be full sunshine for the weekend into Monday, March 9.

Featured image credit: Kimba Hodgetts

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