6 March 2020

Skywhale's return beached by storms

| Dominic Giannini
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The return of the Skywhale has been delayed because of predicted thunderstorms in Canberra. Photo: File.

The planned return of Skywhale – probably the most controversial and best-known hot-air balloon in the world – has been postponed after the Bureau of Meteorology predicted a 70 per cent chance of showers and possibly a thunderstorm later this evening (6 March).

Instead of taking flight in the nation’s capital as intended, Skywhale will now be tethered outside Old Parliament House from 8:00 pm on Monday night for a one-night-only appearance for Canberra Day.

The famous multi-breasted balloon was commissioned by the ACT Government to mark Canberra’s centenary in 2013. In October last year it was gifted by an anonymous donor to the National Gallery of Australia.

The balloon has attracted its fair amount of love and controversy due to its bizarre design and price tag.

It was intended to fly as part of the Balloon Glow event with three other hot-air balloons during Canberra’s Enlighten Festival.

The inclement weather has also forced Lights! Canberra! Action! to be rescheduled from tonight to tomorrow, but Enlighten Illuminations and the Canberra Night Noodle Markets will proceed as planned. More information can be found at enlightencanberra.com.

Canberra has been lashed with rain all week, with the capital recording 38 mm in 24-hours from Wednesday (4 March).

In the north of Canberra, Ginninderra had 32 mm, while to the south, 40 mm of rain fell at Tuggeranong. At Curtin, 31 mm of rain filled the gauge.

The heavy rain also resulted in a tree falling on two couriers in Manuka yesterday. They were treated on the scene for minor injuries.

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