Rainband dumps more than 240mm on north Queensland in ‘unusual’ May deluge


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The weather bureau is consulting the record books after up to 244mm was dumped over parts of north Queensland, triggering warnings of river rises and flash flooding.

A massive rainband is blanketing huge swathes of the state and caused incessant downpours and strong winds overnight Tuesday.

Meteorologist Helen Reid said the Innisfail region in north Queensland recorded 244mm between 9am Tuesday and Wednesday morning and other nearby locations had 230mm.

The city of Townsville had 101mm while nearby towns had between 130mm and 190mm.

In the south of the state, the Sunshine Coast recorded between 130mm and 140mm.

Ms Reid the high rainfall was unusual for this time of year and meteorologists would look at the data to determine if it was record-breaking.

Large areas of Queensland can expect more heavy rain in coming days as a severe weather warning expands towards the northern coast.

Six-hour totals of more than 100mm are forecast for the Central West and tipped to exceed 150mm if storms develop in the current rainband, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday.

Rainfall records tumbled at the Hughenden, Richmond and Cloncurry airports on Tuesday as those inland regions recorded their highest totals ever in the month of May.

Townsville can expect totals of up to 250mm on Wednesday and Thursday with the severe weather warning indicating up to 200mm in a six-hour period.

The bureau said the warning extends from Cairns to as far south as Bowen, including possible life-threatening flash flooding.

A flood watch is current for numerous catchments across northern, central and western Queensland with the southeast and central Queensland to be continually assessed.

A major flood warning is in place for Cooper Creek, and minor warnings for the Thomson and Barcoo rivers.

Elsewhere, moderate flood warnings exist for Eyre Creek and the Diamantina River, with a minor flood watch for the Georgina River.

The bureau said the rainfall will ease over the weekend but it is unusual to have such heavy rain this time of year.

“Typically in May, that’s when our wet season ends and we see a lot of the moisture, especially in tropical Queensland move actually into the northern hemisphere and they begin their wet season, but that just hasn’t happened yet,” said senior meteorologist Laura Boekel.

“A lot of the moisture is pushing down across the entire state so that’s why we’re seeing this event. That air mass is ready to go and it’s producing a lot of rainfall and it is unusual for May.”

-with AAP

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