Sydney, Brisbane weather: Forecast for rain to ease on weekend; risk of floods

Sydney’s main water supply has hit peak capacity and is now overflowing, as heavy rainfall continues to lash Australia’s east coast.

Parts of Sydney’s west have been put on high alert, with Warragamba Dam reaching its capacity overnight after a month of heavy rainfall.

The dam is now expected to release up to 100 gigalitres per day over the next week, running the risk of minor flooding in some downstream communities on the banks of the Hawkesbury-Nepean system.

Meanwhile, there have been more than 1600 calls to the SES over the past 24 hours in the NSW Hunter region alone, with 30 flood rescues performed.

The rain that has drenched much of the east coast for days may take a brief sojourn on Saturday.

But it could just be a brief respite, with forecasters warning of more downpours in the coming days.

Even where the rain does take a break, the recent huge falls means the risk of river flooding is high. There are widespread flood alerts across three states.

“We’re right in the middle of a major flood and rain event,” said Sky News Weather senior meteorologist Tom Saunders on Friday.

“The threat of thunderstorms and dangerous flash flooding will continue into the weekend particularly on the Queensland side of the border.

“And soakings will continue from the eastern seaboard as we move from November into December.”

Some of the totals that have fallen in recent days are huge. Bundaberg saw 190mm in the 24 hours to 9am on Friday; Canberra meanwhile has now had its wettest spring on record.

A low pressure system intensified over NSW on Friday sucking in tropical moisture and leading to rain and storms. A trough has now extended all the way up the Queensland coast.

“On Saturday there will generally be an easing trend for NSW with the heaviest falls having moved well offshore but there will still be showers around central and eastern parts continuing into Sunday,” said Mr Saunders

“And this activity through the northern inland could be convective meaning showers but also thunderstorms.”

Rain eases for NSW; flood watches remain

Sydney may see around 8mm on Saturday and then just a few spits and spots on Sunday with heavier falls returning later in the week. Maximum temperatures of 20C.

There will be potentially heavier falls the closer you get to Queensland however.

A huge number of flood watches and warnings are in place. A flood watch for minor flooding is current for the Hawkesbury-Nepean River which includes low lying suburbs on Sydney’s north west fringe.

Flooding was occurring at Narrabri and Gunnedah on Friday and could hit Tamworth.

The NSW SES has urged motorists not to drive through flood waters with 17 call outs for incidents on Thursday, most involving motorists.

Canberra may see a shower or two on Saturday with Sunday looking dry. Highs in the mid to high teens.

Storms could return to Queensland

“For Queensland that rain band moves off the coast initially on Saturday – so perhaps a lull day – but then a northerly drags that moisture back over Queensland on Sunday,” said Mr Saunders.

“We’ll see showers and storms returning and further pockets of heavy rain for the coastal areas but also down through the southern inland,”

Brisbane could see up to 8mm on Saturday and then a couple of millimetres on subsequent days although the rain ramps up again to heavy levels by midweek.

Townsville might get 8mm in the gauge on a stormy Saturday and then 10mm on Sunday and 15mm on Monday.

Like NSW, scores of rivers have flood warnings in place in Queensland including the Balonne, Condamine, lower Macintyre and Weir systems.

Wet in Darwin with 15mm on Saturday associated with storms and around 6mm possible on Sunday. Maximums will be a toasty 33C.

Melbourne will be dry and even a bit on the sunny side this weekend with a high of 21C on Saturday and 22C on Sunday.

Indeed, the city could surpass the 30C mark in the middle of next week. But there could still be rain on the weekend in the Gippsland region associated with the east coast deluge. Flood warnings are concentrated in the state’s east as well as on the Murray upstream of Lake Hume.

Dry in Hobart with highs pushing 20C this weekend but still chilly at night hovering around 7C. Glorious in Perth which has sat out all the weather drama. Expect a weekend of mid thirties highs and dawns around 20C.

Originally published as Weekend weather: Rain easing in some areas but high risk of flooding

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