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    Major Flooding Continues in Australia

    By Mike Pigott, Meteorologist
    December 29, 2010, 1:28:48 AM EST

    Heavy rain continued across Queensland, Australia, producing the worst flooding the region has had in more than 50 years, as reported by Australia's The Age. Flooding around the town of Chinchilla has cut the 4,000 residents off from the outside world.

    Numerous businesses and homes have been flooded, as Australia's Bureau of Meteorology issued flood warnings for 14 rivers within the state.

    Flooding began across northeastern Queensland Friday when Tropical Cyclone Tasha made landfall near Cairns. Despite quickly weakening once over land, moisture from this storm has remained over the region, producing heavy rain as it collided with a stalled frontal boundary.


    Widespread reports of 4-8 inches came from the region, with 11.05 inches reported in Cairns over the past five days. This brought the monthly rainfall total up to 16.75 inches at Cairns, more than double the normal monthly average of 6.28 inches.

    Rockhampton received 7.43 inches of rain over the weekend. An additional 1.93 inches fell in the past 12 hours.

    Flooding is likely to continue as the deluge of rain will persist through much of the upcoming week.

    Daily rainfall totals will average 1-3 inches in many areas, while local amounts can exceed 5 inches.

    Some of Australia's sugar crops have been hit exceptionally hard by the recent rain. Officials estimate around 18 percent of the sugar crop has been left unharvested as a result of heavy rain, causing sugar prices to rise.

    The heavy rain has also caused a temporary stop in wheat harvesting. Coal miners are also making plans in case of mine flooding.

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