Wet, wet, wet
International visitors Alessandra Mathys and Samya Abdel donned ponchos as the heavens opened in Airlie Beach on Saturday. The Whitsundays region was lashed with falls ranging from 150–200mm and, with Tropical Cyclone Owen reforming on Tuesday night, we’re set for more wet weather this weekend.
THE wet season has arrived with a bang, with over a month’s worth of rain recorded over the weekend.
The skies were dark as strong winds and heavy rain whipped through the region, turning umbrellas inside out, and drenching anyone and everything caught in the tropical downpour.
The wild weather was a result of Ex Tropical Cyclone Owen, which was downgraded from a category one cyclone to a tropical low last week.
Hamilton Island has recorded 228.6 mm of rain for the month so far, with the highest falls recorded on Sunday with 83 mm.
The Bureau of Meteorology told the Whitsunday Times that the average monthly rainfall for December is 114.4 mm, however there is quite a big variation with the lowest recording at 8.6 mm and the highest at 517 mm.
Wind gusts of 102 km/h were recorded on Sunday at 10.48pm, which is considered to be gail-force winds – the minimum wind speed for gail-force winds is 62 km/h.
BoM Meteorologist Aditi Sharan said the wild weather wasn’t done with the region yet, as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen had redeveloped into a cyclone Tuesday night.
Ms Sharan said it wasn’t unusual for a low-pressure system in the right conditions to intensify into a tropical cyclone.
Once Tropical Cyclone Owen makes landfall at the Gulf of Carpentaria, it will weaken and track south east as a low-pressure system, Ms Sharan said.
“There is a chance of heavy rain, thunderstorms and damaging wind gusts when the system moves south to the Whitsunday Central Coast,” she said.
Whitsunday Regional Council is encouraging Whitsunday communities to step up cyclone preparations with the uncertainty surrounding Tropical Cyclone Owen yesterday located in the Gulf.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor and Whitsunday Disaster Management Group chair Andrew Willcox said that while it was still too early to know how the weather system would impact the region, forecasts were at this stage anticipating some wet and windy weather.
“We want to remind our residents and businesses not to be complacent,” he said.
We want to remind our residents and businesses not to be complacent — Cr Andrew Willcox
HOLIDAYS: Frans and Lyn Warffemius, from Sydney, said they would rather have rain than fires.