March rain­fall high­est on record

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - by Nathan Paull nathan. paull@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

WEATHER WATCH: Alice River weather nut Des Barr casts an eye over Townsville skies as more rain threat­ens to dump on the city, cap­ping off our wettest March on record. A whop­ping 696.2mm of the wet stuff fell in Townsville for the month

>> Re­port: page 5

T O W N S V I L L E ’ S M a r c h r a i nf a l l r e c o r d s wil l b e smashed to­day as more del­uges are tipped to add to the whop­ping 696.2mm which has fallen so far.

Bu­reau o f Me­te­o­rol o g y fore­caster Ju­lian Ro­manik said the only other fig­ure to come close to match­ing the d o wn­pour s i nce r e c o r d s started, was a fall of 682.8mm in 1990.

The un­for­giv­ing rain, in­clud­ing a mam­moth 400mm fall over the past two days, has caused havoc for the re­gion, par­tic­u­larly south of Townsville, where the Bruce High­way at Proser­pine was cut and a land­slide threat­ened homes at the Whit­sun­day ham­let of Hide­away Bay.

Weatherzone me­te­o­rol­o­gist Brett Dutschke said Proser­pine had been one of the wettest places, with about 450mm in the past 48 hours – the big­gest falls since Jan­uary 1991.

Fur­ther north, Bowen had about 400mm, its high­est two-day to­tal since Fe­bru­ary 1991.

This re­cent down­pour is on top of an al­ready wet month, in which it has rained on 23 days, about 10 more than nor­mal.

Proser­pine has had more than 800mm in March and B o w e n h a d m o r e t h a n 600mm, mak­ing it the wettest March in both towns in at least 20 years. ‘‘ Heavy rain is still in the area and it only looks like eas­ing sig­nif­i­cantly from to­mor­row,’’ Mr Dutschke said yes­ter­day.

‘‘ An un­sta­ble area of con­verg­ing winds will slowly edge north and take the fo­cus of rain closer to Townsville in the next few days and fur­ther north from the week­end.

‘‘ More than 200mm is pos­si­ble in these parts. There’s not a huge amount of re­lief ahead in the Bowen, Proser­pine and Mackay area with an­other 100mm still pos­si­ble.

‘‘ Once the heavy rain eases in the next day or two, fre­quent show­ers are still likely into next week in fresh south­east­erly winds."

Whit­sun­day Mayor Mike Brunker said al­though overnight rain caused more land­slides in the Hide­away Bay area yes­ter­day, res­i­dents were not af­fected.

Cr Brunker said ge­o­log­i­cal en­gi­neers were ex­pected to ar­rive at the scene late yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, af­ter hav­ing to fly to Townsville and then travel south due to flood-blocked roads.

Mr Ro­manik said the rain head­ing to­wards Townsville would not let up un­til about Tues­day next week.

He said while flood­ing was a concern over roads south of Townsville, trou­ble-prone ar­eas north of the city like Ing­ham should not be a prob­lem un­less the rain con­tin­ues re­lent­lessly and soaks the ground.

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