Record rains spread into the heart of Australia

A Christmas night storm and flash floods in Central Australia are being described as a once-in-50-year weather event.

    Broome, located on Australia's northwest coast, reported a 24-hour rain catch of 226mm on December 22.

    This was a record 24-hour period in December for Broome, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's Neil Bennett.

    It takes Broome's monthly rainfall total to more than 359mm, which makes it the wettest December on record.

    And the month has not finished yet.

    A tropical low-pressure system which included a cyclone called Yvette fed a lot of rain into northwest Australia. The cyclone formed and then weakened well off the Pilbara coast.

    But a tropical low moved over the Kimberley and dumped its record-breaking deluge.

    The resultant downpours continued, spreading through Western Australia and over the Gibson Desert towards Alice Springs. Northern Territory police reported significant flash flooding in the town of Kintore, about 520km west of Alice Springs in Australia’s Red Centre.

    A quarter of the community of Kintore was evacuated after it was drenched by 232mm of rain in 24 hours, taking the December total to a record 373.4mm.

    The downpours spread to Alice Springs and caused the closure of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park owing to the risk of flooded roads and the potential for car accidents, said park manager Mike Misso.

    "There's a lot of water coming off the rock and what that does is just create channels across the ring road around Uluru. Some of those roads there were flooded by about 300 to 400mm of rain. [It is] quite spectacular but very hazardous road conditions," he said.

    The town square of Yulara, the community closest to Uluru, was inundated. Yulara averages 274.6mm of rainfall in a year.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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