Significant rain event to kick off Boxing Day

Penelope Arthur
By Penelope Arthur
Updated December 22 2021 - 1:33am, first published 12:46am
Total forecast rainfall from December 22 until December 29. Source, The BOM

It's beginning to look a lot like a wet Christmas for many parts of Australia - at least from Boxing Day onwards.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting rain events to impact most of Northern Australia, Southern and South East Queensland and Northern NSW with totals of up to 200mm likely in some areas.

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Meanwhile, southern WA looks set to swelter through the festive period, with Perth forecast to reach 42 degrees on Christmas Day.

BOM senior forecaster Jackson Brown said there were two main areas of wet weather to monitor from about Boxing Day.

"We have the extreme rainfall off the Top End coast and that is starting to filter down into other parts of the NT but people up in that area are familiar with that type of weather this time of year," Mr Brown said.

"The other area of interest is South East Queensland and north east NSW where rainfall is currently expected to exceed 100mm, reaching up to 200mm in parts - mostly around that far northern NSW area so towns like Lismore and Grafton."

Mr Brown said the low pressure system triggering the rain looked set to develop on Boxing Day.

"That is based more over that Southern Queensland area and the Western Plains of NSW rather than the Western Slopes," he said.

The prediction is for showers and storms but Mr Brown said some of the storms could merge to create larger rain areas after Boxing Day.

The forecast is not great news for grain growers still trying to harvest in NSW and Mr Brown said it would be quite humid on the eastern side of the trough, further hampering efforts to dry out paddocks and crops.

"It looks like it will drag down some of the moisture from the Top End but that is looking to subside somewhat from Tuesday next week," he said.

Mr Brown cautioned the rain event was still some way off and pinpointing exactly where the most rain would fall was extremely difficult.

Victoria, where harvest is in full swing, looks likely to miss out on the best of the wet weather.

Mr Brown said those living in areas of NSW and Queensland where rivers were still at major and moderate flood levels should be aware of the forecast.

"It is indicating that while we have had a bit of a dry period we are probably going to enter a relatively wet period now," he said.

Fine and hot for much of SA and WA 

Meanwhile, a high pressure system looks set to keep things relatively fine over most of South Australia and southern WA.

Mr Brown said an extreme heat wave currently over the Pilbara was forecast to break down and shift into south western WA from tomorrow.

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He said some suburbs of Perth could reach 44 degrees on Christmas Day but the real concern was ongoing fires in the state.

"That heat will certainly exacerbate the current fire threat," he said.

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Penelope Arthur

Penelope Arthur

ACM National Agricultural News Editor

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