10 February 2020

Rainfall encouraging but no significant increase in dam levels

| Michael Weaver
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Flooding on State Cirlce

A flooded road at State Circle near Yarralumla on Monday morning. Photo: Michelle Kroll, Region Media.

The rainfall of the past few days has not significantly improved storage levels in Canberra’s four dams, and while small increases have been recorded by Icon Water, it will take up to a week before the rain flows into the dams.

General Manager of Icon Water’s Infrastructure Services Group Gerard Brierley told Region Media there has been good rainfall in the catchment area, which has been very encouraging.

“We anticipate inflows to storages to continue to improve and consumption to reduce in the short term. However, there has not been enough rain to significantly improve our storage levels,” Mr Brierley said.

“In the longer term, it will take sustained rainfall over an extended period or a return to average rainfall conditions to significantly increase Canberra’s water storage.”

This morning, the combined levels of the ACT’s four dams was 44.41 per cent.

The Minister for ACT Police and Emergency Services, Mick Gentleman, also removed the state of alert that has been in place since 2 January. The decision was taken due to favourable weather conditions, including the recent rainfall.

However, the ACT State Emergency Service responded to more than 360 requests for assistance since 9:30 am yesterday following widespread rain on Sunday and Monday (10 February).

Some roads in Canberra have also flooded, with ACT Policing warning drivers to avoid State Circle under the Commonwealth Bridge in Yarralumla and Canberra Avenue near Fyshwick.

“The issue is going to take some time to rectify. Stay away from the area,” ACT Policing said this morning.

Crews from ACTSES, ACT Fire and Rescue, Transport Canberra and City Services responded to calls for help regarding leaks from roof damage, with many homes revisited after the recent hailstorm.

ACTSES working on a roof

ACT State Emergency Services workers cover a roof following rainfall across the Canberra region. Photo: ESA.

“Our volunteer crews are busy on the ground and are working as quickly as they can to clear jobs. Please be patient as we respond to each and every call out throughout the day,” an ACT Emergency Services Agency (ESA) spokesperson said.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) predicts thunderstorms this afternoon (10 February) and the ACTSES says Canberrans should take steps to keep their property safe.

“Secure any loose items around your property, avoid parking under trees and do not enter or drive through flooded areas.”

Rainfall totals varied with Mt Ginini, near the Orroral Valley fire ground, recording 76 mm of rain. The ESA said the rainfall will not extinguish the fire, although milder temperatures and continued rain have greatly assisted fire suppression efforts. The fire continues to burn in patches but within a secure perimeter.

“The fire is being controlled, meaning effective strategies are being implemented and planned for the entire perimeter of the fire,” an ESA spokesperson said.

“We are taking this time to plan and prepare for containment operations that will take place later this week.”

While weather warnings were in place for Canberra throughout the weekend, a severe weather warning for Canberra has been cancelled by the BOM.

Some farms in the region have reported falls of up to 85 mm of rain, while the BOM said it had recorded 60.4 mm of rain at Canberra Airport up until 9:00 am on Monday (10 February).

At Tidbinbilla there was 76.8 mm of rain, while 65.8 mm fell at Giralang, 58.2 mm at Weston Creek and 52 mm at Tuggeranong.

Around the region, Mount Stromlo recorded 67.1 mm, 63.4 mm fell at Braidwood, 53.6 mm at Goulburn, 24.4 mm at Cooma, and 74.2 mm at Perisher Valley.

The BOM says there is a greater than 50 per cent chance of rain falling for the rest of the week.

Flooding at Jembaicumbene Creek

Flooding at Jembaicumbene Creek, in between Majors Creek and Braidwood. Photo: Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said January has been a challenging month, with a number of extreme weather events impacting on the community.

“With the state of alert now lifted, the community can look forward to a greater sense of normality,” Mr Barr said.

“We are forming a clearer picture of the impact of this summer of disasters and have already started efforts to support households and businesses to recover. The impact of extended periods of poor air quality, as well as the travel ban from China, will be felt by many local businesses and organisations for some time.”

Mr Barr said the ACT Government will continue to assess the ecological impact of the Orroral Valley fire, which has burnt through about 80 per cent of the Namadgi National Park.

While Sydney and coastal areas recorded flooding rain, the NRMA said it had received more than 7000 requests for emergency assistance across Sydney, Newcastle, Canberra, Wollongong and the Central Coast.

The overwhelming majority of calls have been for flat batteries, flooded engines and flat tyres, while road closures have made it difficult for roadside assistance patrols to reach stranded drivers.

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HiddenDragon8:28 pm 25 Aug 20

Six months on, the good news is that combined storage levels are now about two-thirds greater than they were in February – but we still have a way to go before we’re back to the peak storage levels of 2016-17 –


Capital Retro11:54 am 25 Aug 20

Climate change is perpetual – it’s only the things you warmists are predicting that are a hoax.

perpetuallyoutraged10:48 am 11 Feb 20

Hmm hot weather and storms in Australia…. almost sounds like a typical summer to me. The doomers can’t seem to separate weather from climate. The climate change cult predicted no substantial rainfall until May, yet none of them foresaw this downpour, yet they want us to believe they know what will happen in 20-50-100 years. They also foresaw the bushfires, please spare me, blind freddy can foresee bushfires in an Australian summer.

Stephen Saunders7:45 am 11 Feb 20

Or an economist to reconfirm that we can still have endless growth.

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