One state facing days of rain

Wet Weather
Parts of NSW have received record rainfall levels. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker

New South Wales is facing days of rain after parts of the state recorded its heaviest downfall in decades, as ex-tropical cyclone Kirrily crosses the border and continues to move south.

Torrential rain soaked regional towns in the state’s northwest on Monday, with Tibooburra recording 79mm of rainfall within just 24 hours, marking the town’s heaviest rainfall in three years.

Also in the state’s northwest, Fort Grey recorded 100mm of rainfall, amounting to nearly double its summer average.

The weather system is moving south over the state’s west before it is eventually expected to travel out to sea over the state’s south coast on Tuesday.

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Sydneysiders were hit with torrential rain on Monday. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker
NSW rainfall totals on February 5. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology
NSW rainfall totals on February 5. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

The ex-cyclone triggered flood watches and warnings on Monday, with moderate and minor flood warnings remaining in place on Tuesday morning for parts of the state’s west.

Moderate warnings for catchments including the Lachlan River to Cottons Weir and the Belubula River remain in place as the Bureau of Meteorology predicts localised river level rises.

The tropical deluge is also expected to cause the Warragamba Dam to spill within the coming days, with the southern section of the catchment to receive enough rainfall to bring dam levels to 100 per cent within days.

Warragamba Dam is expected to overflow. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gaye Gerard
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The wet weather brought a cool reprieve after days of heat. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dylan Coker

The dam levels are likely to mirror those during spills in mid-2020 to 2022 during the triple La Nina.

Kirrily will move the heaviest rain to NSW’s southeast overnight and it will also affect the ACT, including Canberra and densely populated areas of southern Sydney.

The bureau has issued a severe weather warning for people in the Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, parts of the Central West Slopes and Plains, Riverina, Lower Western, Upper Western and ACT forecast districts as heavy and “locally intense rainfall” is expected to hit.

The warning comes as Oberon, in NSW’s Central Tablelands, recorded 32mm of rainfall within 30 minutes on Tuesday morning.

More than 80mm was also recorded at White Cliffs in just six hours in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Queensland rainfall totals on February 5. Picture: BOM
Queensland rainfall totals on February 5. Picture: BOM

While Kirrily has migrated south, Queensland’s south coast continued to receive significant rainfall overnight.

Cowley Beach recorded 101mm of rainfall within 24 hours, while Bingil Bay was drenched by 110mm overnight.

Nearby, Menavale Alert received 76mm of rainfall and Fisher Creek recorded 71mm of rainfall within 24 hours.

While the ex-tropical cyclone has weakened in the state, a “protracted flood event” will continue in parts of western Queensland.

The Balonne River to Surat surpassed flood levels on Monday as it reached more than 9m and the river is expected to peak at nearly 10m on Tuesday.

The Gregory River at Gregory Downs reached more than 13m on Monday but is expected to ease on Tuesday.

The bureau has predicted damaging winds to develop in Queensland’s far west near the Northern Territory border on Tuesday as well as severe thunderstorms with potential for locally heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the state’s north and far north.

Kirrily’s effects have also reached South Australia, as a sandstorm hit Moomba in the state’s far north east over the weekend.