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Five Dead in Australia as Excessive Rainfall Slams Queensland

By By Kristina Pydynowski, senior meteorologist
May 04, 2015, 4:26:22 AM EDT

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Five people are dead after excessive rainfall inundated southeastern Queensland on Friday, causing Brisbane to shatter its May daily rainfall record.

All five people died when the the cars they were riding in were swept away by flood waters, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC News).

Three of the fatalities, including a five-year-old boy, occurred in one vehicle. This car and another attempting to cross a flooded bridge were swept into King John Creek at Caboolture.

Data obtained by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology indicates that one weather reporting station in Caboolture received 333 mm (13.11 inches) of rain from Friday morning (at 9 a.m. local time) to Friday evening.

Australia Weather Center
Detailed Forecast for Brisbane, Australia
Detailed Forecast for Sydney, Australia

The nearby town of Beerburrum was inundated with 233 mm (9.17 inches) on Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time. Out of that total, 148.6 mm (5.85 inches) fell in just three hours.


Queensland’s capital of Brisbane recorded 183 mm (7.20 inches) on Friday from 9 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. That was preceded by 56.2 mm (2.21 inches) the previous 24 hours.

Friday is now the wettest May day on record at the Brisbane Regional Office. The previous record was 149 mm (5.87 inches) from May 9, 1980. Brisbane averages nearly 74 mm (2.90 inches) during the entire month of May.

ABC News reports that officials performed 58 swift-water rescues. The Caboolture Hospital was cut off, causing emergency crews to divert new patients to nearby hospitals.

Tropical Cyclone Quang was not the culprit behind Friday’s excessive rainfall. Quang slammed into Western Australia as a weakening tropical cyclone but still kicked up a 120 kph (75 mph) wind gust at Learmonth, according to Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. West Cape recorded 52 mm (2.05 inches) of rainfall.

Instead, the excessive rainfall in Queensland was the result of a non-tropical storm system that slowly dropped southward through the area and tapped into deep moisture.

The heavy rainfall has come to an end and most of southeastern Queensland will welcome a much-needed drier stretch of weather through the first part of the new week.

A stray shower will dot far southeastern Queensland, mostly south of Brisbane, on Sunday. Nothing more than a light and passing shower will graze the Gold Coast on Monday.

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