Australia – Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen Dumps Record Rain in Queensland

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen dumped record rainfall in North Queensland from 15 to 16 December, 2018.

Floods in North Queensland, Australia, after record rainfall from Cyclone Owen. Photo: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

Queensland Police warned that the “significant rainfall has resulted in an increase in water flow in many streams, tributaries and water courses and police are urging everyone to exercise extreme caution.”

Police later reported that a young man had died after being swept away in a flood-affected creek in Mutarnee north of Townsville.

Tropical Cyclone Owen made landfall approximately 70 km south of Kowanyama as acategory 3 tropical cyclone. The cyclone produced sustained winds of 120 kilometres per hour and gusts of 170 kilometres per hour. Owen was later downgraded to a tropical low Saturday afternoon.

Record Rain

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said in a statement of 16 December:

“Halifax (near Ingham) received 681mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am this morning (16 December) with 122mm of that falling in only one hour. 394mm was recorded in the six hours to 1 am today.

Halifax was one of four locations in the area to record 24 hour rainfall totals exceeding, or near, 500mm in the 24 hours to 9am today. Cardwell Range recorded 552mm, Lucinda recorded 500mm and Ingham recorded 485mm. Townsville saw 138mm, while around the Cairns area totals ranged from about 50mm to above 100mm.

The totals represent new daily rainfall records for both Halifax and Cardwell Range, while Lucinda recorded its highest rainfall total for a December day.”

Rainfall in North Queensland exceeded 500mm in 24 hours in several areas. Image: BOM

South Queensland

BoM also said that, while not related to ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen, south east Queensland also saw significant rainfall to 16 December.

Flash flooding has cut roads on Queensland’s Darling Downs. Local media reported that the flooding had swept several cars off the roads.

BoM said “Totals for the 24 hours to 9am include 157mm at Pomona, 58mm at Ipswich and 91mm at Mt Nebo, with further falls continuing throughout today. Thunderstorms are expected to continue through parts of the south east today.

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