Interesting to see private weather forecasting is still a thing. …

Comment on Private forecaster tips massive rains for Alice by G J O’Reilly.

Interesting to see private weather forecasting is still a thing.
It has a long history in Australia, especially popular with farmers of course, and has had its share of well-known identities such as long-range forecaster Lennox Walker, trained by fellow Queenslander, Inigo Jones.
Mr Jones was the weather observer at Crohamhurst QLD in 1893 when the Australian record of 907mm fell in 24 hours.
The seve-day total at this station was 2112mm so Mr Jones must have been kept very busy emptying out the gauge! The great flood of Brisbane that followed is of course one of Australia’s greatest natural disasters.
It rains so little in Alice Springs for such long periods that it’s easy to be complacent, but given the 700m elevation and latitude on the Tropic of Capricorn, there is no reason a monsoon trough or tropical low couldn’t dump a massive amount of rain in a short period.
Additionally there is the amount of bare rock, relatively low vegetation cover, climate change, and the bottleneck of the Gap to consider.
If you look at the 14 or so major rainfall events since 1910 there is a distinct pattern of getting around 200mm over five or so days which is fairly benign.
The 1988 flood was a bit different in that 200mm fell in a single day – the highest daily rainfall.
The other fairly “sharp” events were 1910 and 1920 where 200mm+ fell over three days.
By comparison the good flow back in 2015 was 190mm over five days (average 38mm per day). Similarly, big flows in the 1970s and early 2000s were from steady rain over a week.
The real question is whether getting 200mm in a day is at the upper end of possibilities or whether there is something bigger to come.
Certainly NASA’s studies of Central Australia’s geomorphology in the 1990s in preparation for the Mars Rover missions suggested potentially devastating floods had likely occurred in just the last 1000 years.
I used to be amazed at the different alluvial layers in the soil as you dug postholes in our garden on the Eastside, each layer deposited by some paleo-flood.
I suppose though, given it’s now been 100+ years of records, only having one day of 200mm so far ain’t too bad. Fingers crossed.

Recent Comments by G J O\’Reilly

Time for a date?
Thank goodness for Alex Nelson whose encyclopaedic memory of people and events that shaped the Centre over the last 50 years always brings insight to these articles.

Why Alice Springs’ own ocean beach is doing so well
Looks more like a mulloway, not a snapper, in the old tourism brochure picture Erwin: but more seriously, I can’t help thinking it unfair to compare such different places. While all the comparisons are no doubt factual, there are such fundamental differences in history, demography, climate and politics, that it’s not really comparing apples with apples.
In the early 90s recession, when the SA State Bank collapsed, so many of my fellow graduates from Adelaide found a future in the NT when there were few career prospects in SA.
I always wanted to go back but jobs have always been scarce in SA. Now I live in a seaside hideaway in WA and will always be grateful for what Alice Springs provided which was opportunity (as opposed to what Streaky offers which is stability).

Bicycle riding and narcissism
Suzanne’s articles make me want to take a slow, sexy and stylish bike ride around Alice again.
Maybe along the river path or peering into quirky gardens in old Eastside.
Over to Olive Pink for coffee.
Out on the Telegraph Station path. Aaah! Sadly where I am now, there are way too many cashed-up amphetamine-fuelled V8 and 4×4 bogans to venture far!

Bicycle riders in circles

Alice was the best place for riding a bike. Dry and warm; flat in town, and plenty of wide paths and quiet back roads.
I remember not having a car for over a year at one stage and saved so much money. Punctures were always a problem from glass and caltrops but that goo stuff did the trick.
Scariest moment was when three purpose-bred roo dogs came bounding at me from a camp in the river one morning.
I yelled my head off, swerved from the path onto the road along South Terrace and, luckily, the owners heard and called them off at the last minute. I think Australia has become less bike-friendly; comment pages are often filled with road rage induced spite and calls to ban, register, and get-off-the-road type opinion.
I hope laid-back Alice can stay a cycling paradise.

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