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Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie tracking southwards today, bringing rain

by Bureau of Meteorology on 29 Mar
Shute Harbour, near Airlie Beach, is littered with debris after Cyclone Debbie. Dan Peled / AAP
Heavy rain and flooding is expected as Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie moves south-east. A Flood Watch has been issued for coastal catchments between Gladstone in Queensland and Bellingen in northern New South Wales. The Flood Watch extends inland to parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt forecast districts, as well as the far northern New South Wales ranges.

Significant rain has been recorded around the Mackay area over the past 48 hours, with over 1000mm at Mount William and Clarke Range in the Pioneer River Catchment – the average for the whole year is 1500-2500mm. Thunderstorms have produced falls up to 150mm within two hours around Mackay, and the Bureau has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for the region. Further warnings are expected throughout the day.

Further 24 hour rainfall totals from 9am Tuesday 28 March to 9am Wednesday 29 March:

• Clarke Range: 646mm (Pioneer River basin)
• Mount William 568mm (Pioneer River basin)
• Undercliff: 544mm (Fitzroy River basin)
• Upper Finch Hatton: 396mm (Pioneer River basin)
• Eungella 221mm: (Pioneer River basin)

Queensland Weather Services Manager, Richard Wardle says further fallout is expected from the system. 'We've seen some extraordinary rainfall totals around the Central Coast. It's important for people to also realise there's potential for damaging wind gusts up to 120 km/h. The strongest gust recorded was 263 km/h at Hamilton Island yesterday – that's the strongest wind gust ever recorded here in Queensland'.

New South Wales Weather Services Manager, Jane Golding says, “This system is expected to impact the far northern NSW coast and adjacent ranges on Thursday and Friday, with very heavy rainfall and high winds that have the potential to cause riverine and flash flooding, bring trees down and cause property damage. A Flood Watch has been issued for numerous northeastern NSW rivers. A Severe Weather Warning has been issued for rain and wind.”

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie is expected to continue tracking in a south-easterly direction during Thursday, bringing further heavy rain and potentially damaging winds. The system will then likely move into the Southern Coral Sea on Friday but is not expected to redevelop into a Tropical Cyclone, however, winds and waves are likely to increase over the south east coastal district.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and the NSW State Emergency Service are urging the public to stay tuned for the latest official forecasts and warnings from the Bureau, and follow the advice of local emergency services. Avoid travel, if possible. Remember: if it’s flooded, forget it.

This Severe Weather Update provides information on hazards associated with Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie. Video is current at 12 pm AEST, Wednesday 29 March 2017.

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