Major Flooding In Australia Continues

By By Jim Andrews, senior meteorologist
March 08, 2012, 3:24:30 AM EST

Major flooding is occurring on multiple rivers in New South Wales, the state hardest hit by the recent flooding in Australia.

There was a confirmed fatality resulting from the recent flooding in New South Wales as a man who was trapped in his vehicle by flood waters was drown while trying to escape. Two others in the vehicle were rescued.

More than 13,000 people have been evacuated due to the recent flooding. More than 8,000 people were ordered from their homes in the town of Wagga Wagga where flood waters are near the height of an 11 meter levee designed to protect the town.

A major dam near Sydney has filled to capacity for the first time since 1998, and has been spilling overflow into already swollen rivers down stream.

The much-awaited spillover at Warrangamba Dam was a spectacle for onlookers watching the torrent race down the spillway to the stilling pond. However, downstream flooding of the Nepean and Hawkesbury rivers was expected to displace about 1,000 residents west and northwest of Sydney, the Australian website indicated.

Moderate to major flooding sparked by this week's cloudbursts was ongoing as of Tuesday in central and eastern New South Wales, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) website.

Since last Monday, rainfall has ranged from 100 to 350 mm (about 4 to 14 inches) over a vast swath of Australia stretching from its central desert to green, populous coastal southeast. A few spots near the border of New South Wales and Victoria have received more than 400 mm (16 inches) this week.

In the normally parched Red Center of Northern Territory, the past week's rainfall has been as high as 250 mm (about 10 inches) east of Alice Springs, according to the BoM. The normally "bone dry" Todd River began to flow for the first time this year, Australia's ABC website said on Friday.

The area around Alice Springs normally sees no more than 300 mm of rain in a year.

The heaviest rainfall shifted east of the hardest hit areas in New South Wales on Monday allowing some relief from the recent onslaught.

Unfortunately, this lead to a new round of flooding across southeast Queensland where one man was killed when their vehicle was overwhelmed by flood waters. Another man in the vehicle remains missing.

High pressure building in from the west will supply largely dry weather to the hardest hit areas in northern Victoria and central new South Wales from Wednesday into the weekend. The threat for additional rainfall will continue in eastern New South Wales and southeast Queensland through Thursday before the cold front finally pushes offshore.

Meteorologist Eric Leister contributed to this story.

Video credit: charade97/YouTube

Video credit: Waggacrow/YouTube

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