A severe storm brought torrential rain to parts of Western Australia today.
Moist and unstable air, feeding into a trough, triggered scattered storms throughout eastern and interior parts of Western Australia.
Warburton was drenched with up to 5mm in 10 minutes after lunchtime. A total of 67mm was recorded in about 4 hours, which is almost twice their monthly average.
Warburton could possibly break its 1946 record of 78mm in 24 hours if storms continue this afternoon.
People in the Goldfield's town of Warburton are in recovery mode after a flash flood caused by heavy rain inundated the community.
A total of 83 millimetres of rain fell on the community yesterday, flooding parts of the town to two metres.
Thirty homes were evacuated and 60 people were forced to relocate.
Two people had to be rescued from a 4-wheel-drive stranded in water up to window level.
James Ashley from the Bureau of Meteorology says it more than doubles February's average monthly rainfall of 34mm.
"It's right up there, the highest daily rainfall that they have ever recorded is 101 millimetres in March. They've had a fairly long record as well, the station has been open since 1940, so 83.2 millimetres in the grand scheme of things is a big rainfall for that area," he said.
THE south-east town of Salmon Gums, near Esperance, has become the second town to officially be declared out of water.
Water Minister Bill Marmion has declared a livestock water deficiency for the town following an assessment by the Department of Water and the Department of Agriculture and Food.
“Due to low rainfall the Salmon Gums locality in the Shire of Esperance is experiencing major livestock water supply shortages with a large number of the district’s farmers carting water from the Quarry Dam that is drying up,” Mr Marmion said.
“Under the government policy relating to the provision of emergency farmland water, we will arrange for water to be carted to Quarry Dam so the farmers in that locality will have access to emergency livestock water.
“Water cartage into the Quarry Dam will begin within two weeks. The water will be supplied from the Water Corporation standpipes at Norseman.”
This is the second water deficiency declaration for a dryland farming area this year. The Wheatbelt shire of Kent was declared dried out in February.
The Minister said the State Government encouraged all dryland farmers to look at their water capture and containment systems to make sure they were in good condition with the capability to capture as much rain as possible.
“Government sponsored emergency supplies are here to support farmers when on-farm supplies run out,” he said.
A farming town in Western Australia's south-east has become the second area this year to be officially declared out of water by the State Government.
The town of Salmon Gums, north of Esperance, has been declared farmland water-deficient.
The Great Southern Shire of Kent was declared water-deficient earlier this year.
The government is now arranging for water to be carted to Salmon Gums' Quarry dam so farmers will have access to water for their livestock.
The Esperance shire president Ian Mickel says the move has come just in time.
"The supply has run to almost empty so to have water carted there, paid for by State Government, is absolutely essential for the stock to survive in the Salmon Gums area," he said.
"I'm pleased that the Government have committed to start the process, I've been encouraging them to look at it since October of last year and make a committment sooner rather than later.
"It's gotten to the eleventh hour now and so it has to start now."
The Department of Water says it is closely monitoring a number of dry Wheatbelt shires.
The department's Ed Hauk says it is watching shires in the eastern Wheatbelt that have missed out on recent rain such as Kondinin, Kulin and Lake Grace to see if water carting is required.
"We respond to the pressures that are out there," he said.
"We take a look at the number of livestock, how many farmers are carting water, and from that we get an idea of the the need within a locality in terms of water that's required off-farm."
Many of Australia's mining communities have seemingly responded to Sunday's carbon tax announcement with the shivers, but this is actually a result of the coldest weather in decades.
Not even the act of mining itself was enough to warm some communities to 10 degrees.
Leinster, in Western Australia's Goldfields, was one of the first to respond, by struggling to 10 degrees on Sunday and Monday, their coldest days in 18 years.
The news must have had a delayed effect in South Australia, where it took until Tuesday for Leigh Creek to begin its cold spell. It failed to reach 10 degrees on this and the next day, the coal mining town's coldest two-day spell in at least 30 years.
On Wednesday, Broken Hill couldn't even reach nine degrees, making it their coldest day in eight years.
Also on Wednesday it was the coldest day in 16 years in White Cliffs with a 10-degree maximum, and coldest in five years in Ballera, in southwest Queensland, where it only got to 13.
The reason for this cold outbreak was dense cloud, a result of moisture coming off warmer-than-normal Indian Ocean waters.
This cloud is now clearing from the interior, allowing day-time temperatures to return to near-normal.
Near-record warmth hit the Nullarbor today, with Red Rocks Point and Eyre both reaching 28 degrees, the warmest July day this far south in nine years.
For any Australian weather station more than 32 degrees south of the equator, it's the highest recorded July temperature since 2002. In that July, Eyre was the hot spot, warming to 30.6 degrees, 13 above its long-term monthly average.
For this far south, the warmest July day in the past decade is 31.0 degrees, also in Eyre, in 2001 (a July record for Eyre).
This is an indication of how rare today is.
Typically in July, southerly or westerly winds would affect the Nullarbor with the occasional day of northerlies, like today.
But these northerlies have been building since last weekend, long enough to gain a bit more warmth each day. Today, with help from a deep low west of Perth, northerlies have been strong and gusty enough to warm the Nullarbor to the high twenties.
The warmth air is courtesy of warmer than normal waters west of the state. The air above these waters is therefore relatively warm and has been sent across much of Western Australia ahead of cold fronts, which have not made it as far east as the Nullarbor yet.
Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
TOP PRIORITY FOR IMMEDIATE BROADCAST
SEVERE WEATHER WARNING
for Heavy Rainfall and Damaging Winds
For people in parts of the Goldfields, Gascoyne and Interior in the area bounded
by Three Rivers, Carnegie, Balgair, Norseman, Meekatharra, Three Rivers
including Kalgoorlie, Wiluna, Leonora and Laverton.
Issued at 11:30 am on Sunday 18 March 2012
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Lua lies about 70 km north of Wiluna and should continue
moving south over the northern Goldfields during Sunday. The ex-cyclone combined
with a mid-level cloud band is expected to produce widespread areas of rain that
could result in HEAVY RAINFALL conducive to FLASH FLOODING during Sunday.
DAMAGING WIND GUSTS that could cause damage to homes and property are possible
near the cyclone centre in areas north of Leonora.
Cunya and Bulga Downs have had 47mm, 46mm respectively between 9am Saturday and
FESA State Emergency Service [SES] advises you to secure loose objects, move
vehicles under cover and stay inside away from windows. If caught outside you
should find shelter away from trees, powerlines, storm water drains and streams.
Take extra care on the roads as flooding is possible. If you are driving through
heavy rain slow down and turn your lights on or if visibility becomes low pull
over and park until it passes. For SES assistance call 132 500. For more safety
tips visit www.fesa.wa.gov.au.
The next warning will be issued by 3:00 pm Sunday.
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