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Major flash floods hit SE Australia

nsw flood november 14 2022 f

Widespread rain and thunderstorms hit large parts of southeastern Australia on November 12 and 13, 2022, producing major flash floods, stranding residents and damaging homes. This is Australia’s fourth major flooding this year.

The highest rainfall totals on Saturday, November 12 were observed through South Australia, northern Victoria, and southern New South Wales (NSW), the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reports.1 On Sunday the focus shifted to northeast Victoria and the New South Wales western slopes.

The highest 2-day rainfall totals to 09:00 LT, on Monday, November 14:

  • 165 mm (6.49 inches) at Tuena, Southern Tablelands, NSW
  • 144 mm (5.67 inches) at Mount Hotham, Victoria
  • 133 mm (5.23 inches) at Tallandoon, Victoria
  • 127 mm (4.99 inches) at Forbes Airport, NSW (118 mm / 4.63 inches on Sunday)
  • 118 mm (4.64 inches) at Orange, NSW (100 mm / 3.93 inches on Sunday)
  • 106 mm (4.17 inches) at Parkes Airport, NSW
  • 92 mm (3.62 inches) at Rutherglen, Victoria, and Yankalilla, South Australia
  • 88 mm (3.46 inches) at Bathurst, NSW

With this recent rainfall, renewed or prolonged flooding is expected to develop across many catchments across southeast Australia. Flood Watches are current as rivers begin to respond to rainfall and flooding develops, BOM forecasters said.

There are significant concerns for the communities of Forbes and Bathurst in New South Wales, with Major Flood warnings current.

Moderate to heavy rainfall observed across the Lachlan River catchment has resulted in renewed river level rises. A Flood Watch is current for minor to major flooding for the Lachlan River.

Major Flooding is occurring at Nanami and Jemaalong Weir.

Major Flooding is likely at Forbes from tomorrow afternoon, with water level rises likely to peak at around 10.80 m (35.4 feet) late Thursday, November 17.

Major flooding is also occurring along the upper Macquarie River at Bathurst. The Macquarie River may reach around 7 m (22.9 feet) by 13:00 LT today, which is above the levee height of 6.90 m (22.6 feet).

Flash flooding has wreaked havoc across Victoria, with the Mornington Peninsula, where water inundated homes and blocked roads, among the hardest-hit regions, 9News reports.2

Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) said 550 people requested assistance in 24 hours to 08:00 LT on November 14.

318 calls were for flooding incidents, 104 for fallen trees, and 44 for building damage.

“We’ve seen a lot of flash flooding where streets have been awash. We’ve had water then entering homes … ankle-deep water in some places,” Victoria state emergency operations chief Tim Wiebusch said.3

Many drivers found themselves stuck in floodwaters across Melbourne early on Monday, while homes were also inundated by the sudden rainfall.

Flash flooding has also inundated roads in Melbourne’s west, with trucks and cars seen stuck on major routes in Derrimut and Hoppers Crossing.

Widespread rainfall and thunderstorms have led to dangerous flash flooding across much of Western and Southern New South Wales. Overnight, over 120 mm (4.72 inches) of rain fell in the Central West, NSW State Emergency Service (SES) reported.4

Over the last 24 hours, the NSW SES has responded to more than 855 requests for assistance and 204 flood rescues. NSW SES crews have responded to more than 140 flood rescues in Eugowra.

The worst affected towns are Eugowra, Canowindra, Molong, Bathurst and Molong.

In little over 4 hours, parts of NSW received more than 1 month’s worth of rain:

Rosebud registered 81 mm (3.18 inches), Mornington 63 mm (2.48 inches), Melton South 40 mm (1.57 inches), and Avalon and Point Cook 38 mm (1.49 inches).

The weather system which brought the band of rain over the weekend has now cleared in Victoria and southern New South Wales, however, further showers and thunderstorms are possible for northern New South Wales, easing later this afternoon.1

Showers will ease further on Tuesday, November 15 and colder air will move up from the south. Showers will be more frequent on and south of the Victorian range and small hail and thunder are possible.

Moderate to locally heavy falls are possible in eastern Tasmania, including Hobart, as a weak low-pressure system moves over the coast.

Snow may even fall across higher parts of Tasmania from tonight and in elevated parts of Victoria and New South Wales tomorrow.

Conditions will mostly clear from Wednesday into Thursday as a high-pressure system develops over Victoria and Tasmania.

Showers and thunderstorms look to return to southeastern and eastern Australia from Saturday, November 19 into Sunday, November 20 which may cause further flooding across already saturated catchments.

Residents and communities living on or near any rivers, creeks and streams or in low-lying areas should stay up to date with the latest forecasts and warnings via BOM website and its Weather app and follow the advice of emergency services.

This is Australia’s fourth major flooding this year.

Australia’s east coast is suffering from a rare third straight year of the La Nina weather phenomenon which is associated with increased rainfall.3

References:

1 New flood risks for New South Wales and Victoria as heavy rain eases for south-east Australia – BOM – November 14, 2022

2 Roads turned into rivers and homes damaged as flash flooding hits Victoria – 9News – November 14, 2022

3 Flash floods in Australia’s southeast cut off inland towns – Reuters – November 14, 2022

4 OPERATIONAL UPDATE AND NSW SES RESCUES – NSW SES – November 14, 2022

Featured image credit: NSW RFS (stillshot)

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