Severe Weather: Thursday 25th January 1996
by Michael Bath
Tragedy in the Upper Hunter area, when a woman was killed by flash flooding. A large slow moving storm on the Liverpool Ranges dumped about 70mm in 2 hours on an already saturated catchment, resulting in a severe flash flood event through Murrurundi. The house the women was in, was swept off its foundations into the Pages River. The New England Highway was closed as floodwaters surged downstream. 90mm or rain was recorded at Murrurundi from 3am to 10am before a metre of water swept through town. The return period of intense rainfall of this magnitude in this area is about 20 to 30 years.
The storm was associated with a slow moving trough and front which was producing severe weather in Victoria the morning before, and still producing extreme events well into the evening of the 25th.
The Lismore area was affected by severe wind squalls throughout the evening of the 25th. Worst hit was Goonellabah and Richmond Hill where 7 houses lost roofs - one ending up in a neighbours swimming pool. Extensive blackouts were caused by lightning strikes and poles and wires brought down. Some areas were still without power 24 hours after the storm.
Synoptic Charts provided by the Bureau of Meteorology
Updated: 6th April, 2004
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