I love a Sunburnt Country: 2015/16 edition, on last page

We're not even officially in our Summer yet, yet here in Queensland, Australia we're in the middle of our stormiest month of the year and having horrendous hailstorms. Last week we had shocking fires up and down the eastern coast of the country, and even a sudden snowstorm in Canberra; and last month was possibly our driest month of the year.

Today, just a couple of hours' drive north of where I sit, there have been hail stones the size of tennis balls

Last night, just 5 mins away from here, three storm fronts converged so that the black clouds split the clear sky as sharply as if you had ruled graph paper and then coloured the margins against that sharp edge. Massive thunder, crazy flashes of lightning, golf-balls of hail - complete with urgent and persistent wild weather warnings on all media telling us where/when the hail and gale force winds would make land - and insistent warnings to get everything under cover immediately. It was so fierce that we sheltered at the local mall (so our car would be under cover), coming home after a couple of hours when it was merely raining heavily.

The night before, Thursday, I was lucky to make it home as day turned to night within 10 mins around 4.30pm, and fierce thunderstorms crashed overhead as they rushed past on their way to the sea, dumping as much rain in 90 mins as they could
Luckily our area was relatively unscathed, but the house shook a few times and we nearly lost power. In the morning on Friday though, it was amazingly still, fresh and clear: as we drove to the train station at 6am, we saw a wallaby hopping across the road (going from a waterhole to a flooded park); a long unfurled green snake basking by the side of the road; and a family of koala drying out up a ghost gum in the median strip of a main road.

Apparently we're in for 11 cyclones, minimum, this summer; with at least 4 of them predicted to make landfall between here and the tip of the country. That prediction was made before the super-typhoon, so who knows if any of that has changed things?

I figure this season will be a record for many things - either our summer or your winter. We get big heat and fires when you get super-snow or ice. We can swap stories and theories here, and let the weather category stay for the urgent chat and warnings.

Weekend report from Byron Bay area from my brother:

Wow, what a 24 hours! And before that some really impressive sub-tropical storms, lightening and thunder for each of the previous three days.

First, the last week our main tanks started smelling a little ‘off’. Turned out to be debris getting in from the storms, starting to rot. Dealt with using a large scoop and chlorine, turning to top tank to let the chlorine do it’s work.

Good start to the day which went on to lots of good pruning and cleaning up trees, branches, etc. A whipper snip around for good measure, to clean up the area and look good, also to see the snakes when they come past. A couple lately, attracted by the mice which are attracted by the ants and other creepy crawlies. Haven’t yet dealt with the spiders as need a day free from rain for that.

Wanted to mow also, but the ride-on wouldn’t catch. Sigh. Arranged for mobile service during the week and another job postponed.

DD was helping a friend show offer 19 guinea pigs at the annual Bangalow Show. M and I took DS around 2 pm to the Byron pool for some exercise and fun. But another storm was rapidly approaching with the skies darkening. We got there in time for the pool to close (no swimming when lightening in area). And there was lots of that. Frequent lightening and thunder within 4 kms. So good idea to have a coffee for M and I, with DS having a gelato. Just in time as it turns out for a ‘please pick me up call’ from DD.

But more to come! At 5 pm the skies changed further and became very intense. I moved the couch up to the inside of the doors looking over the ocean view and we watched the clouds and weather roll in. A massive hail storm let loose, large balls cms round. Lots of patches over our ground. I thought the windows would break! Lovely palms shredded, much tree debris all around, roads covered thick.

The power did go out so we put our emergency procedures in action (candles, torches, switch from pump water to gravity fed, etc.)

That’s ok, we still had dinner and fun before going to bed.

Power came on around 1 am, so I went around resetting clocks and so on. Went outside to turn back from gravity water to pump. Noticed the pump came on yet quickly turned off so went to check the switchboard. A circuit kept tripping, which I tracked to an outside plug being still saturated from the storm. Isolated, reset and pump back on and working. Reset clocks again!

Went into the guest bathroom to clean up and stood in a puddle of water. Interesting...

Tracked that down to the hand basin and heard water spraying out. Opened the cabinet and could see a fine mist coming from a hole in the base of the cold water pipe, totally wetting everything in the top shelf and dripping to the lower shelf and running to the floor. Gosh "those pads" are absorbent! Tos top the water spray I had to turn off not just the pump but also the water into the pump and let the taps run dry.

Started the clean up, clearing out of the cabinet.

Then went to get a drink of water and found a 10 litre bottle in the kitchen had sprung a leak!

Back to bed by 3 am.

On waking up at his normal 6 am time, DS comes to our bathroom, and I quietly asked him to come to me so I could let him know about not having water. He replied ‘in a minute’. Shortly followed by repeatedly louder “why can’t I flush?”, “why is there no water in the taps?”. So much for keeping quiet for M, who said “thanks for waking me up!”.

I closed the curtains, made the room nice n’ dark, gave her a kiss and closed the bedroom door. DS went to his morning activity, watching telly.

It was easy to take out the pipe and then I brought some buckets of water inside so the guys could fill the cisterns if they needed to flush. Oh, one of the buckets sprung a leak!

So off I went, a half hour away to Bunnings in Ballina, in time for them to open at 7 am. Lovely shopping with good staff and only two other customers in the store. New pipe with correct attachments was $6.38. I was very pleased!

Quick stop to buy a cappuccino and almond croissant for the return trip back to home, arriving at 8 am, just in time to deliver Marcia an almost hot cuppa and almond croissant for her.

Five minutes later, new pipe in place, pump back on and taps bled of air and all fine. Toilets flushing, taps working, just in time for DD to wake and get ready for her musical theatre today.

And now I’m off taking DS to the pool...Did I say the forecasts are for large tropical storms today?

so that was my brother on the weekend; it's now Monday morning and it didn't stop raining all Sunday night, for either of us. Clear now, but the Bureau has no hope of working oout what today is going to be like, they've admitted as much.

O my heavens! 45 mins after the hail came through here (according to the radio) there are still huge chunks on my 'lawn' that are almost 3 inches across. The winds are unbelievable. It hasn't stopped thundering and flashing lightning for almost an hour; one burst of lightning just missed the car as I drove home (I mean literally just missed the car - by about a foot). Over so quickly I couldn't believe what had just happened.

The weather radar is showing black for the storm centres - that's where it usually shows hot red or yellow/orange.

The wind gusts are pushing cars over.

The radio is full of 'dangerous extreme weather alerts' with precisely timed information of when each storm front and weather event will hit - something that usually doesn't happen here (where I live) unless it's actual cyclone season or a bushfire.

The fiercest storms are now colliding in a more northerly direction, moving up through Brisbane, and on towards the bay...And they're predicting more of this for the evening.


Not to make light of a terrible situation, but...


I remember that!! grin)
Actually it felt a little like that, at one point...today it's calm and clear (a bit sticky) with nothing meant to happen for a day or so. But the storms come from nowhere, so who knows??

Driving to the station last night, the ground was heating up so quickly that the water was evaporating in a heavy fog - like driving through a badly lit, badly set Bgrade horror movie scene leading to some ghoulish night-time cemetery action. We don't get fog like that unless it's winter - temp was maybe 20 degrees C (at 6.30pm), so quite warm still. Later, at bedtime, it felt cold and was about 16 degrees - we needed more than a top sheet to sleep well.

They say there's billions of dollars worth of damage from all this hail, just in the last 5 days.

Ugh. Holes in patio, portico rooves. One hole is almost as big as my hand. We're lucky, all things considered - driving to the station this morning, trees down everywhere, still remnant piles of hail in some spots; and you can see the steam rising metres high, like thick shower curtains, as the sun heats the wet grass.

This news article contains a short video clip of some of the storm and damage

My brother told me this morning that more of their trees are down, and their cactus garden is ruined.

In 15 mins this evening it went from a peaceful Saturday evening to violent flash flooding rain and thunder/lightning. Huge hail, the rain is covering most of the State; massive winds. Lost count of the number of lightning strikes and booms of thunder.

It's partly because the first cyclone of the season has formed and is crossing across the north of the country, running into a monsoon; the monsoon is pushing tropical storms away across Cape York; and jsut south of here there was a mini-tornado (blew a roof off a house). So lots of activity everywhere. Certainly explains the migraines!!
http://www.weatherzone.com.au/qld/southeast-coast/paradise-point weather
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-23/nsw-tornado-rips-roof-off-house-in-nsw/5113018 tornado

Wow... you say we're in for it with snow when you have that kind of weather? Yikes.

It rained all night; stopped just in time for the beginning of Dr Who !!

By the time today's rain stops, it'll have been pouring non-stop almost 24 hours. Not spitting or drizzling; heavy rain, no let-up, pouring the whole time.

thought you'd love this weather map:

So far, where I am, it's not too bad.
Note the apparent temperature - it's only 9.20am, and fierce sun already. But we're expecting storms tomorrow (I believe) and over the weekend...

Updating this at 5.10pm: Just read that Adelaide (well, in fact, most of South Asutralia) can expect temperatures in the mid-30s at midnight tonight - this is a usually quite mild State at the bottom of the nation. Conditions are ripe for a major statewide fire emergency, and people are being warned to be ready to evacuate their houses any time through the night.
Also, northern Victoria which is tinder-dry despite floods earlier this year is baking in unusually high temperatures that have continued for some time, and with fairly high winds. This is farming land - wide, flat, unending; they graze, grow rice (well, they used to when they had water), Mediterranean fruits (our winter citrus and grapes); this is where they hold annual charity river rowing and cycling mega-marathons at this time of year. Bushranger territory; so much indigenous history and tribal land, you can't begin to list what's at stake. One spark and not only Victoria burns; the fire crosses into New South Wales, where wool and many historic small towns are at risk.

Ten years ago, we were in Howlong and the multi-State fires began in February, near the end of summer. Five years ago, just as I moved up here, you all watched in horror as the wildlife burned and firefighters offered their water bottles to koalas, after days of uncontrollable bushfire in January. We've already had catastrophic fire condition warnings this fire season; let's hope this week we can avoid a break-out.

From our ABC newssite:

Last November was hottest worldwide since records began

The US climatic data centre says last month was the hottest November globally since records began 133 years ago.

Chief of the centre's climate-monitoring branch Deke Arndt says Australia was slightly warmer than normal.

"It wasn't quite as warm as many of the other land areas but according to the bureau, it did come in above normal and that was reflected in our analysis as well," he told the ABC's AM program.

"This happened to be kind of the culmination of a really, really prolonged season of warmer-than-normal temperatures in many of the world's oceans, particularly the Pacific and Indian Ocean."

"The other factor that's playing in is the long-term warming.

"So the planet is getting warmer over time and when you have a long-term signal and then a single month where the weather conditions set up right for warmth on top of that long-term signal, those are the types of months that you're going to see threatening and breaking records."

They say it is going to be 70 on Sunday, that seems a little extreme for December.

I am writing about Australia - check out the links!! grin)

Apologies, unix - I hadn't realised you were referring to your weather forecast: the temperatures ranges are hard for me to keep juggling (between degrees F and degrees C).

They've been predicting a near-white Christmas in some places around Australia, then a soggy one or almost-cyclonic one, dependingon where exactly you are. Here, 70 degrees is fairly ready-to-cook-steak, so you can see why I get confused. If you're expecting slush and winds, we'll probably have rain and thunder.

I have a friend back where we used to live, who was told 9 years ago that she should consider getting a heart/lung replacement to fix the way her heart oxygenates her blood (it doesn't pump to her lungs properly, was a birth defect that wasn't picked up until then). She's just turned 30, having refused to go on the list ('why should someone have to die, so I decide to live??'), and now needs oxygen tanks at home. She hasn't been able to leave her house for the last 3 weeks because of the weather (too hot, too windy)
And now they're on the top edge of this:

On the other edges of the continent, Darwin barely escaped a Christmas cyclone (a bit like Tracy, that hit in 1974) and now Western Australia is on high alert - the entire State. That's about one-third of the nation, a huge chunk of mining territory and wheat fields. Not to mention heritage indigenous lands.

WA's cyclone is now named Christine.

The sister of one of my former girlfriends was named Christine. It's an apt name oh oh


It's mid-20s here, at almost-midnight; 90% humidity and no sight of any rain or storms until (if we're lucky) Monday. What about you??

Mid-teens now - was a bit blowy earlier, as a cool change came through and dropped our temps from the high 20s/low 30s. Humidity now around the 50-60% mark.

A few showers forecast over the next few days, with temperatures in the 20s (C - for those reading in the main MOL service area)

Not that this will hold for long - but you can get an idea, anyway:

oh, I miss the 14degree nights!! And the cool breezes at dusk!! sigh

Hey - didja read about that new metro weather service that's being introduced?? Sounds very like weatherzone.com.au to me!

Announcing the MetEye

Also, Christine is now a Tropical Cyclone.

record sweltering heat in Queensland today:

How's your brother getting on, with the fires around Byron Bay?

meant to be almost in Sydney, so I'm not sure. If it goes up-hill, that's their place...
Have rechecked the fire updates AND the maps. haven't heard anything from them; a bad wind-change and they could be on the outskirts of that fire. Other properties in the way though. Am trying hard not to be alarmist or panicky.

Fire update, from my brother:
Yes, the bushfire last night was really amazing. It’s been really hot, humid and sweltering last few days. Hadn’t rained for a few weeks. Then terrific lightening storm came over around 3 pm. A was at a friend for the afternoon. M, D and I were outside watching the lightening clouds slowly making there way towards and over us. Quite spectacular.

On returning with A around 6, when driving in with our great view we noticed a small fire just North of Lennox Head. Prob about 17 kms drive from here yet prob about 8 – 10 km as the crow flies. Could have started with a lightening strike, yet M wonders if someone there lit it. There have been a few peat fires lit around there over the years. Tend to last for several weeks and really hard to put out.

We sealed our house as well as we could, so smoke would not get in. At no time were we in danger from the fire itself. It is many kms from us and the embers not anywhere near us.

This fire quickly grew. Looked a few hundred metres across and the flames going very high into the sky. Much higher and much, much bigger than the yearly cane field fires. By 7:30 pm we had a huge grey smoke cloud covering our place and far beyond.

ABC news and Rural fire report this as a bush fire covering almost 200 hectares. About 100 times the size of our property. http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_more_info.cfm?CON_ID=21851&CAT_ID=684

Looks like the fire spread over 4 to 5 kms going towards Byron Bay. The Coastal Road was closed and people evacuated from their homes.

It rained over the night, helping to dissipate the clouds and the many, many fire fighters to control the fire.

Not so bad this morning, but still a large cloud hanging around. Much cooler and also lightly overcast.

Good news.

Let's hope the fire crews can get this one fully out before any further hot and windy weather.

In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.