Wet, wet, wet

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE - Ge­or­gia Simp­son ge­or­gia.simp­[email protected]­sun­day­times.com.au

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

PHOTO: GE­OR­GIA SIMP­SON

PHOTO: GE­OR­GIA SIMP­SON

HOL­I­DAYS: Frans and Lyn Warf­femius, from Syd­ney, said they would rather have rain than fires.

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