Australia weather: parts of NSW set to break December rain records in wet end to 2020

Parts of New South Wales could potentially break rainfall records by the end of December, as thunderstorms bring a rainy end to 2020.

By New Year’s Day, areas in northern NSW, including the town of Gunnedah, could have officially broken previous December rain records, according to preliminary data collected by the Bureau of Meteorology.

And that comes before further thunderstorms are forecast to develop on Wednesday afternoon.

At Crinolyn observation station, near the Queensland border, 25mm of rain fell in half an hour on Wednesday afternoon. Since 9am, the site has recorded 55mm of rain.

Meteorologist Gabrielle Woodhouse from the bureau said a series of stormy days this month had pushed some areas of the state into record-breaking territory.

“Over the past month we have had quite a few systems generating widespread rain and high totals,” she said. “When we finalise all the numbers for December, we are looking like a few places could have received record rainfall totals – in terms of daily totals and monthly totals.”

Those areas include Gunnedah and “potentially out towards Grafton and the Queensland border”, she said.

In Tamworth, the Chaffey dam rose above 40% on Tuesday – its highest level in two years – after the month’s rain. Water restrictions in the area were eased as a result.

In Queensland, the Warahgai weather station received 103mm in an hour on Tuesday night.

On Wednesday, the bureau also issued severe weather warnings for thunderstorms along the north-west slopes and plains, and the northern tablelands.

“At the moment some of that thunderstorm activity is relatively isolated,” Woodhouse said. “But we have seen it tapping into some moisture in the atmosphere, which can lead to quite a bit of rainfall and potentially flash flooding.”

New Year’s Eve is also forecast to be rainy for much of the state, including Sydney.

Melbourne, Brisbane, Darwin and Hobart are also likely to see showers on New Year’s Eve, in a mostly rainy event around the country.