Sunday, January 27, 2013

Australia flooding - Warnings of heavy rain and destructive winds for Brisbane until Monday. The weather bureau has warned of heavy rain and destructive winds of up to 125km/h, possible flash and riverine flooding, for Brisbane from Saturday tonight as central Queensland is slammed by severe weather.
In the next few days about 300mm of rain is expected in Wivenhoe Dam catchment, upstream of Brisbane, and coastal areas could get as much as 500mm. Controlled releases from the dam are continuing and there is no doubt it will be able to cope with the influx of rainwater in the coming days. "We can absorb that flood."
The biggest risk will come from suburban creeks in the Gold and Sunshine Coast and greater Brisbane area. Almost 10,000 homes are without power in Bundaberg and more than 2000 out on the Sunshine Coast. Low and high voltage powerlines have been brought down by the chaotic weather, with an Ergon Energy spokesman warning that some in Bundaberg, the Bargara coast area and other parts of North Burnett could be without power for more than 48 hours. [UPDATE - Evacuation order for north Bundaberg after the Burnett River broke its banks.]
Gladstone is facing a dramatic new flood threat as two other towns in the region face an UNPRECEDENTED deluge as ex-cyclone Oswald lingers over the region. Torrential rain topped a metre in 48 hours and has swollen the Boyne River to two metres HIGHER THAN THE PREVIOUS RECORD.
An EXTRAORDINARILY HIGH TIDE will hit on Sunday morning. "We're now getting ready for the next time when we think we'll have the biggest problem and that's at the high tide on Sunday morning." About 2000 people have been asked to evacuate. A saddle dam off the Awoonga Dam is close to overflowing, which would put 500 homes in peril. The government is considering mandatory evacuations.
Further south, a mini-tornado slammed into Bargara near Bundaberg, leaving at least two people badly hurt after their car was hit by a pine tree blown over during the storm. A number of local buildings, including a supermarket, were reported to be badly damaged. Gladstone and Bargara had been declared disaster areas. In Gladstone, the region has had about 700mm in the last four days - and is bracing for another 200mm to 400mm in the next 24 hours.
Coupled with an extraordinarily high tide, authorities fear flooding around Tannum Sands and Boyne Island - areas which narrowly escaped inundation yesterday - and they have ordered residents to leave the towns of Jambin and Goovigen as a water volume almost SIX TIMES GREATER THAN THEIR LAST FLOOD approaches. The rain depression is centred over Gladstone and was not moving. ``It will be over 24 hours before it moves south and lessens. That will be around mid-morning tomorrow. We're looking at rainfall of 200mm to 400mm in the next 24 hours, on top of 700 mm we've already received in the last three days. The Awoonga Dam water level was at 46 metres six metres over the spillway this morning. Our time for concern is tomorrow's 10am high tide. It looks like being 7.5 metres over the spillway. It is predicted to be 47.5 metres at 10am. We thought it was history-breaking when it was 4.6 metres over the dam. We've NEVER SEEN THIS AMOUNT OF WATER OVER THE WALL EVER."
About 50 roads in the Gladstone area, including roads to the dam, were closed and lookouts near the dam also were closed. Despite this some drivers were going around road closure signs. There have been two rescues in Gladstone area, with two people lifted off the roof of a car at Lomead, south of Gladstone on Friday night and another two people rescued from a flooded stream at Yarwun. Residents of 400 homes in the Boyne Tannum and Benaraby areas have been door-knocked and warned there could be flooding over the next 24 hours and they might need to evacuate.
Two small inland communities, Goovigen and Jambin, face the prospect of extensive flooding from water spilling over the Callide and Kroombit dams. Both dams burst their banks last night and are experiencing monstrous outflows, with the towns damstream bracing for an "unprecedented" flood threat with conditions far worse than during the 2010 floods. All residents have been evacuated from Jambin and are being advised to leave Goovigen. "Why we are worried is when you're comparing now to the 2010 floods (in 2010) we had 33,000 megalitres coming out of Kroombit dam to cause the issues we had than. As of midday today we are now looking at 54,000 megalitres coming out of Kroombit dam and 120,000 out of Callide Dam in 24 hours." "We've never seen this amount of water over the wall ever." Rain continues to be dumped on the catchments areas, compounding the problem for Sun Water. "They're in UNCHARTED WATERS; it's UNPRECEDENTED what's happened. They can't help us with any modelling, because they don't know. None of us could have predicted this to happen. Three or four days ago we were in dire straits in a drought, so we're a land of contrast that's for sure."
The low pressure system is almost stationary and hasn't tracked to the southeast as predicted on Friday. It expected to slowly move south to the southeast and bring heavier rain, dangerous surf, abnormally high tides and strong winds on Sunday and Monday. In the southeast, people in the coastal towns of Toorbul and Meldale, between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, were issued with a watch and act notice, with the Department of Community Safety warning the communities were likely to be affected by a dangerous storm surge caused by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald at 9am.
Former cyclone Oswald has been causing flooding across the state since Tuesday, when it crossed Cape York Peninsula's west coast and was downgraded to a low-pressure system. Many Australia Day celebrations have been cancelled across the state due to the extreme weather. On the Gold Coast, all beaches have been closed until Sunday afternoon as wild seas hammer the Glitter Strip. Gold Coast City Council officials are keeping a close eye on already badly eroded Nobby Beach, where beachfront homes were left teetering on the edge of steep sand cliffs after recent big swells.
With ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald drenching north Queensland, it is the southeast's turn to receive a bucketing as the low creates flash flooding from the Sunshine Coast to the New South Wales border. In central Queensland, swiftwater rescue teams made 20 rescues including plucking eight people to safety after their car was swept off the Capricorn Highway and a teenager was saved from a ranging torrent by swift water rescue teams. Lives were feared lost in Central Queensland after Oswald dumped 349mm of rain on Rockhampton, smashing a 40-YEAR-OLD RECORD.
While most people would "sadly fixate on issue of the river" the real risk in Brisbane was suburban creek and stormwater drain flooding. With the Gold Coast predicted to be hardest hit by the WEATHER "BOMB", the city council activated its disaster management centre. Hinterland creeks and causeways were the main concern and the situation was called "highly unpredictable". (maps, Gold Coast surf cam and photos)

Australia flooding situation - continually updated throughout the day. (photo gallery)

**A problem, clearly identified, is half the solution.**
Ancient Japanese proverb

Live Seismograms - Worldwide (update every 30 minutes)

This morning -

Yesterday -
1/26/13 -

1/25/13 -

Volcano Webcams

Volcano activity of January 25 - In Oregon, Mount Hood volcano fired-off a volly of small earthquakes. A few tiny events continue at the volcano.
Volcano activity of January 24 - New Zealand, White Island volcano alert level raised. Hybrid earthquakes (evidence for fluid movement) continued to increase beneath White Island volcano overnight, prompting GNS to upgrade the status of unrest at the volcano to “orange” level.

In the Indian Ocean -
- Tropical Cyclone Garry was located approximately 495 nm southwest of Bora Bora, Society Islands.

- Tropical Cyclone Thirteen was located approximately 750nm northeast of La Reunion.

Tropical Cyclone Garry's strength peaks in South Pacific - Garry continued to intensify over warm waters of the South Pacific Ocean and was upgraded to category three as it made its way towards the southern Cook Islands bringing damaging gale force winds to the northern Cook Islands.
Garry is headed towards the uninhabited Suwarrow Islands. The cyclone is weakening as it moves over Cook Islands. Now a category one cyclone, it is expected to get smaller is it moves across Raratonga, towards Mangaia, in the next 24 hours. Gale force wind warnings remain in place, but the Cook Islands National Meteorological Service says the rain is clearing. 68.4 millimetres of rain has been recorded in Raratonga in the last 24 hours, but only one or two showers are forecast for Sunday. The cyclone is expected to be downgraded by late Sunday.

Troublesome remnants of Cyclone Oswald still causing problems - Ex-tropical cyclone Oswald doesn't know when to stop causing problems for Queensland, Australia, and now teamed up with a low pressure area, it continues to bring heavy rainfall. Oswald has dropped a lot of rainfall throughout Queensland. An earlier rainfall analysis u showed Oswald and its remnants had dropped over 600 mm (~23.6 inches) of rain in areas of the Cape York Peninsula near the Gulf of Carpentaria. Higher rainfall totals have been recorded over the southern Capricornia district.
On Saturday, the trough, an elongated area of low pressure, stretched from the southern Gulf of Carpentaria to ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald and over to the southern Capricornia coast. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald and the trough are expected to continue moving southwards over the next few days.
As Oswald's remnants continue to hug the eastern Queensland coast, residents can expect gusty winds, rough seas, heavy rainfall, and possible flash flooding. There are gale warnings in effect over many areas. On Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. EST, the heaviest rainfall was occurring over the southern Capricornia district. Rainfall was in excess of 27.5 inches (700 mm) in less than 2 days, leading to rapid river and stream rises in the area.
Insurers declare catastrophe for all of Queensland because of widespread flooding and storm damage.
Man sails through cyclone on twig raft - A Polish man was lucky to be alive on Friday after sailing from Papua New Guinea to a north Australian island on a raft made of twigs and sticks, through crocodile and shark-infested waters, during a cyclone.
The man was found washed up in mangroves on Saibai Island in the Torres Strait, a treacherous stretch of water that lies between the two countries. What made his survival even more miraculous was that he attempted the trip in the aftermath of Cyclone Oswald, with 1.5 metre (five foot) swells and 40 knot winds.
"It's the first time I've heard of someone trying to cross the Torres Strait in a raft in the middle of a cyclone. It's not something we'd recommend. Navigation in the area is challenging for normal vessels, it's quite treacherous with reefs and rocks, and he did it in high winds and high seas. He's very lucky to have made it."
The flimsy raft was held together with string. Australian immigration authorities said they were waiting to interview the man and it was not clear whether he was carrying a passport. "He has been transferred to Thursday Island where he has been detained." The man was being medically assessed before being interviewed to find out why he made the trip.
AMSA was alerted when residents of Saibai, which is part of Australia but only four kilometres (2.5 miles) from Papua New Guinea, spotted the man offshore on Thursday. They sent a helicopter and a customs ship but failed to find him, so they called in local police who discovered the exhausted man in the mangroves.
The man, who has not been named, set off from Sigabadura village in Papua New Guinea on Wednesday and that locals tried talking him out of the voyage. One report said he had been dropped in Papua New Guinea by a yacht.
Queensland floods as cyclone sweeps past - Dramatic scenes have unfolded in central Queensland where a teenager has been rescued from raging floodwaters, as the remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald lash the region.
The 14-year-old boy was found clinging to a tree in floodwaters in Rockhampton. Six swift water rescue crews rushed to the scene and managed to reach the teen. As the boy grabbed hold of a tree, and climbed towards other rescuers waiting on a bank, the man who'd saved him was swept away. He went under a nearby bridge but was able to pull himself up onto a bank. He was taken away in an ambulance but is believed to be fine.
Dozens of stranded people have been rescued from homes and cars overnight and in the morning as the state struggled to cope with the deluge. More than 70 roads, including major highways, have been cut by floodwaters since Oswald was downgraded to a storm after crossing the Cape York Peninsula's west coast on Tuesday.
Rockhampton was suffering its wettest day in 60 years and many parts of the city were under water, and the city was also experiencing ''very destructive winds''. A search was underway for two fisherman whose boat started taking on water off Rockhampton. Air and sea searches began, but heavy rain and high winds are hampering the operation. Planes were unable to land at Rockhampton because of the 90kmh winds, heavy rain and poor visibility, while many roads are inaccessible.
At Yeppoon, northeast of Rockhampton, more than 10 homes have flooded and people were sandbagging other properties in a bid to save them. "We've had some flash flooding in low lying areas, and those low lying areas are all still cut." (video)
Central Queensland, Australia town of Bundaberg - At least six cyclones have already ripped through the Bundaberg region today, causing dozens of injuries. Nearby Bargarawas hit by a tornado on Saturday. "What I think is quite shocking for everyone concerned is just how quickly this came in, it just came out of nowhere. I'm just so relieved that so far we've had no reports of loss of life down here, but clearly we've had some serious injuries."
A flood peak is projected of about seven metres and at least 150 to 200 homes and about 100 businesses could be inundated. Rural towns around the Bundaberg area, including Gayndah, are also experiencing flooding. "The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting the Burnett River levels to rise significantly today and this evening."
The Burnett River was now expected to peak at eight metres. "If that's the case, certainly it's going to be worse than we experienced in 2010 and 2011. It always comes as a shock (but) we've been through it before." People were urged to remain indoors. "We can repair houses, we can repair roads, but we can't repair people."
Gladstone has experienced UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF FLOODING as 900 homes in the area are evacuated. Torrential rain from ex-cyclone Oswald has sparked a major flood crisis in the central Queensland city. It was a "madhouse" on Sunday morning as residents flocked to stock up on bread, milk and petrol.
Floodwaters were starting to subside on Sunday morning, and Awoonga Dam was holding steady. "They've got about 20 metres in Baffle Creek and it's up to the ceiling in some homes. Baffle's an area that floods badly, floods often and floods for a long time." There have been several rescue efforts at Baffle Creek and at Yarwun, north of Gladstone.
The Mary River is forecast to cut Gympie in two with rooftop rescues already being carried out in the city, and one person missing in floodwaters.
New South Wales - More than 500 people are expected to be isolated by floodwaters in northern NSW as ex-tropical cyclone Oswald brings damaging winds and heavy rain to the state. A severe weather warning was issued on Sunday as Oswald slowly moved south from Queensland.
Two motorists had already been rescued from floodwaters on Sunday. More than 400 SES volunteers were stationed in the north of the state with warnings that Oswald was likely to bring damaging winds of up to 110km/h. Once the rain sets in, the SES will be monitoring the state's main rivers with moderate to major flooding expected.
On the Bellinger River at Thora in the state's north, a minor flood warning is in place and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) is warning that a further 150mm of rain could fall over the next day or two. This was expected to cut off more than 500 people in rural properties slightly upstream at Darkwood. "They will be isolated for a couple of days so we have asked them to stock up."
The wild weather is expected to move further south on Monday, with strong winds and downpours forecast for Sydney. Motorists travelling on the state's mid north or far north coast are being urged to take extreme care, with reports of heavy rainfall, debris and reduced visibility at some local roads.


Australia - Rain has slowed the progress of two major bushfires burning in eastern Victoria.
Internet hoaxers - Fire authorities are being forced to waste time and resources investigating bushfire hoaxes and false rumours on social media.