Active change brings some much needed rainfall last weekend

By Peter Nelson

The passage of a complex low pressure trough during last Weekend, 24-25th March, brought some much needed rainfalls to our area. Rainfall totals were about 15 to 20mm with thunderstorm activity, but heavier falls to near 50mm further south to Eildon.

There was a tornadic storm which did some property damage at Tolmie late last Saturday afternoon 24th March. The complex low was unusual in structure that it had three cold fronts. The first one with thunderstorm reached Wangaratta at 2.30 pm Saturday.

The second one reached Wangaratta at about 10 pm with more thunderstorms on Saturday night. A lightning bolt came very close to my home with explosive force which stunned my ginger cat, Roma and then she requested to go outside in the tempest.

Roma had been restless all of Saturday. There was a delay until the third front arrived early Monday morning. During most of Sunday the winds were northerly and maximum temperatures around 26 after being 28 degrees on the Friday and Saturday.

Exceptionally high dew point temperatures up to 20 degrees prevailed from Friday evening until early Sunday and it was very sultry. The triple front structure last weekend rarely occurs in our area this time of year; more often in the Spring season and this does indicate there will be a slow return to warm to hot days which are now not expected until about the weekend of 7-8th April.

It also means that Easter will not be as warm as I indicated a fortnight ago. The next rain is anticipated to be close to or just before the weekend of 14-15th April, heavier rains at end of April or early May.

Last weekend's thundery change was very much different to the active change of the previous weekend change of 17-18th April which was dominated by high temperatures and strong winds at first then much cooler and very windy afterwards and very low dew point temperatures throughout.

This dry change then stalled near Dubbo and allowed both Coonabarbran and Moree to record their hottest three day spell for late March since 1933. Last weekend's change swept through these two places by last Monday.

Heavy to flood rains continued in Northern QLD. Port Douglas recorded a record daily March rainfall of 593mm on 26th March and it's heaviest daily fall overall since 800mm on April 1st 1911.

Innisfail has been swamped by 1244mm this month and higher March totals occurred in 1881, 1921, 1945 and 1971. Cairns has been flooded by one of it's heaviest March falls since 1887 which was a very wet year in our area.