Stormy Down Under

  • Surface pressure chart marking the forecast position of the low pressure system in SE Australia, valid for midday local time on Sunday.

    Rainfall amounts through the next four days as estimated by ECMWF.

    Sea/swell heights (m) for midday local time on Sunday, indicating the high seas offshore from New South Wales.

  • Stormy Down Under
    02.06.2016 14:24


    After seeing slightly below normal precipitation amounts this past summer in Australia, in part thanks to the influence of one of the strongest El Nino episodes on record, weather conditions have been taking on a more unsettled tone recently as the continent enters its meteorological winter. This weekend is no exception with the likelihood of some very wet and windy weather for eastern regions of Australia, where there is the potential for disruption from surface flooding.

    The perpetrator is a deepening area of low pressure running from the interior of southern Queensland down the east coast of Australia this weekend, with associated fronts giving heavy rain and thunderstorms to Queensland and New South Wales from this Friday, before only gradually moving away early next week. There are indications that eastern parts of New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and far south-east of Queensland could see more than 48 hours of continuous rainfall, with totals potentially surpassing 150mm in places. The main concern is that this part of Australia is one of the most densely populated on the islands, with the major cities of Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane in line for seeing the risk of large amounts of surface runoff.

    Compounding the effects of the rain will be strong to gale force winds circulating around the low pressure system, created by the strong pressure gradient in the atmosphere. Strong winds will buffer much of the east coast on Saturday from southern Queensland down through New South Wales with gusts up to 60mph, but the winds may intensify further on Sunday to give gusts up to 70mph. Winds of this strength are likely to be more than capable of uprooting trees meaning there may be a risk of power lines being downed near coastal stretches.

    There will also be a high sea swell created by the low pressure system with heights of up to 5-6m close to the shore of New South Wales and up to 8m offshore, making it a very tricky weekend for the passage of vessels in the region. Conditions will improve into the new week as the storm moves away south-east, although another band of rain may approach from the west around mid-week to give further wet conditions. If you’re out and about in Australia this weekend, remember to keep up to date with the latest forecast using our app, WeatherPro.

    By: Nick Prebble