Weather

Tropical Deluge over the Top End

Joel Pippard, 3 December 2017

Several locations along the north coast of the Northern Territory have recorded nearly 100mm of rain in just one hour this morning with severe storms.

93mm fell in one hour at Oenpelli this morning at 5:30am as severe storms crossed overhead. This included multiple periods of rainfall higher than 2mm per minute.

Darwin Airport recorded an astounding 22mm in just 10 minutes at 3:30 this morning, as well as over 15,000 lightning strikes within 30km. Overall they picked up 84mm from this storm.

Near the Western Australian border, Wadeye saw 82mm in one hour at 7am as well as wind gusts of 69km/h. Nearly 100,000 strikes were recorded within 100km of the town.

The highest rainfall totals were 110mm at Gunn Point and 101mm at Oenpelli. These rainfall rates prompted a severe thunderstorm warning for heavy rainfall by the Bureau of Meteorology. The highest wind gust clocked in at 74km/h at Charles Point.

Cloud tops of the storms were colder than minus 94 degrees celsius. Typically a severe storm in that region has cloud tops colder than minus 85 degrees.

The severe storms we caused by a trough that has been lingering in the region. Recently, very large amounts of tropical moisture has been fed into this trough. It is the same reason as why there was record-breaking rainfall in Victoria over the weekend.

This abundant tropical moisture is moving away from Australia with these storms and future storms over the region this week are unlikely to see rainfall totals this high again over a large area.


- Weatherzone

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