Prepare for wet week

THE Northern Rivers is in for a soggy week, meteorologists have warned.

Weather Channel senior meteorologist Tom Saunders said northern New South Wales and Queensland could expect heavy rain, every day this week, leading to significant flooding through both coastal and inland regions.

"For many areas the rain will be the heaviest since last summer. Weekly rain totals are likely to exceed 100mm along the east coast from Cooktown to the New South Wales Mid North Coast," Mr Saunders said.

However, there was no prediction of flooding in the Richmond, Brunswick, Tweed, or Clarence valleys.

"For south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales the totals should exceed 200mm, prompting a flood alert for the Bellinger, Macleay and Hastings river valleys. Many areas of western Queensland will also see over 100mm of rain this week," he said.

"The drenching will result from a persistent easterly airstream off the Tasman and Coral seas. A similar weather pattern will prevail over Queensland and New South Wales until at least the weekend.

"Rain is already falling over northern New South Wales with Kempsey and Taree picking up 30mm since Sunday morning. Further north a thunderstorm soaked Townsville with 51mm in just two hours this morning.

Mr Saunders said inland regions of eastern Australia were also seeing thunderstorms.

"Hughenden was hammered by a fierce storm on Sunday night recording a phenomenal 34mm of rain in just 10 minutes and a wind gust of 170 km/h, equivalent to winds near the eye of a Category 3 Tropical Cyclone.

"Winds of this strength are extremely rare for any inland region on earth.

"We are not certain exactly when the rain will clear but it won't be until at least Sunday."

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