Jim Andrews

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Australia Heavy Rain for Sydney, East Coast

February 20, 2013; 9:07 AM ET

A shot of heavy rain will threaten flooding along the east coast and eastern slopes of Australia, including greater Sydney, Thursday to Saturday.

Official Flood Watches have been posted by the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) as of Wednesday, local time, for eastern drainage basins of New South Wales, between the Queensland border and the Hunter Valley, the BoM website showed.

Rainfall will commonly reach 125 mm (5 inches) but will top 25 cm (10 inches) in a few places. Isolated 50-cm falls will even be possible along east-facing slopes.

The heavy rain will begin Thursday in northeastern New South Wales. Spreading southward, it will pelt greater Sydney Friday into Saturday.

The trigger for the cloudbursts will be subtropical low pressure, hovering offshore as of midweek. This low, which already dumped flooding rain over southeastern Queensland early in the week, will turn back to the New South Wales coast on Friday.

Subtropical low pressure has pulled away from the east coast of Australia as of Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. This low is forecast to turn back to the west, landing in New South Wales on Friday. (Image: Bureau of Meteorology)

The at-risk corridor will overlap areas hard-hit by extreme rainfall and near-record flooding late in January. These rains followed the landfall of Tropical Cyclone Oswald on the Cape York Peninsula of northern Queensland. Oswald then drifted southward near the east coast, spreading high winds, extreme rainfall and major flooding as far south as the Sydney area.

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