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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Laurence makes second landfall; brings rain and floods inland

I've been off line for the past couple of days and have not been able to update the progress of Tropical Cyclone Laurence.

Laurence slammed into the northwest Australian coast at Wallal at 8pm local time Monday. Laurence was a level 5 cyclone on the southern scale with windspeeds of 280 km/h (170 MPH)and maintained tropical cyclone strength until this morning.

Tropical Cyclone Laurence strikes Western Australia (Examiner)
For the second time in a week, Tropical Cyclone Laurence made landfall in Western Australia Monday night. The storm which at one point was a Category 5 storm damaged buildings and uprooted trees but miraculously no injuries have been reported.

According to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Laurence made landfall near Wallal just before 8:00pm local time. Packing winds of nearly 170 mph (280 km/h) the cyclone caused damage in the areas of Mandora, Eighty Mile Beech and Wallal.

Laurence is now a tropical low and is bringing heavy rain to drought stricken areas of the interior. The rain is heavy enough that severe flooding is likely. These areas have been very dry for quite some time and while I am sure that the rain is welcome, too much too quickly causes problems.

NSW flood warning in wake of cyclone (ABC News)

Authorities are warning of widespread flooding across north-western New South Wales, as Cyclone Laurence breaks up and moves inland.

Rainfall of more than 200 millimetres is predicted around Gilgandra, Coonamble and Bourke, tracking across to Narrabri and Moree and reaching the Queensland-New South Wales border late on Christmas Day.

Flooding is expected in the Castlereagh, Bogan, Lower Namoi and Lower Macquarie Rivers.

Gordon McKay, from the Bureau of Meteorology's Flood Warning Centre, says it is a long time since he has seen a weather map like it.

"We have had discussions with the State Emergency Service about an hour ago and historically these are quite high falls," he said.

"The actual message will be roads will be flooded and of course it certainly will have an impact on people's travel plans.

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