We havent seen last of the rain
By Jamie Brown
WITH a minor flood warning for the Wilsons River and flash flooding continuing across the Northern Rivers, it looks like the rain will never go away.
But this week’s soaking, which is expected to continue until the weekend, may only be the precursor to a larger event, according to veteran Brisbane forecaster Jeff Callaghan.
The Madden Julian Oscillation is driving yet another batch of monsoonal weather across Australia’s Top End, as it did in late December.
The effect of that last burst fed upper-level troughs with enough moisture to create a tropical low off Fraser Island that eventually led to the biggest flood in 50 years in the Richmond.
This 30 to 60-day oscillation is not yet properly understood, but its effects are well-known. And, if Mr Callaghan’s presumptions are correct, we may see cyclonic activity in the Coral Sea as early as next week.
Considering ocean temperatures off Byron are 26.8 degrees, just above the temperature required for cyclone formation, there is good reason to expect a Coral Sea system to track its way south toward our coast – just like ‘Pam’ did in 1974.
“This wet season is the first good one for many years,” said Mr Callaghan, a severe weather forecaster who has been with the Bureau of Meteorology since 1965.
In this latest soaking it was the eastern Wilsons catchment, which copped the brunt of water, with more than 300mm falling at Mullumbimby over the weekend and yesterday.
As a result the Wilsons River peaked at Lismore last night at 4.2 metres, with minor flooding reported.
Western districts received relatively little water, compared with last month’s flood, with more than 80mm falling at Tabulam over the weekend and yesterday.
As little as 9mm fell at Green Pigeon in the same period. That area, near Kyogle, received more than 600mm before last month’s flood.
Meanwhile, the SES urged caution for people faced with water over a road.
It said the death of a woman at Main Arm last month highlighted the dangers that even minor flooding posed to people in vehicles.