Record-breaking rain in north-west

THE Hills State Emergency Service attended 18 incidents from 6am Wednesday until midnight, Sunday, ranging from helping with road closures to a flood evacuation in the Hawkesbury.
Nanjing Night Net

‘‘I had crews out from 6am ’til 4am every morning from Wednesday until we stood down,’’ said Hills SES controller Evelyn Lester, who, like her crew, has been surviving on a meagre two hours’ sleep since the flooding began.

‘‘Residents of low-lying caravan parks in Wisemans Ferry were asked to leave their properties and all ferries have been closed,’’ Ms Lester said.

‘‘Webbs Creek also continues to be closed, as do Cattai Ridge Road at Maraylya and Wisemans Ferry Road at Cattai.

‘‘The reading last night showed 1.4 metres of water across both these roads.

‘‘Blue Gum and McClymonts roads [in Annangrove and Maraylya respectively] were closed but have now reopened.’’

Ms Lester thanked all of the SES volunteers who helped, as well as the public.

‘‘I’d also like to thank the Hills Shire Council work crew for their assistance over the weekend,’’ she said.

Many may not be surprised to learn that Castle Hill broke a rain record in January.

Sydney Observatory Hill recorded 194.3 millimetres of rain at Kathleen Avenue which broke the previous January record (in 1986) of 188.4mm by 5.9mm.

Records have been collected at Kathleen Avenue for 25 years.

The longer term averages still show much of Australia to have received below-average rainfall, according to the National Climate Centre Bureau of Meteorology’s Australia’s wettest two-year period on record: 2010-2011 report.

The report, issued on February 7, shows that averaged across Australia, total rainfall for 2011 was 705mm.

This made 2011 the second-wettest year on record, behind 1974 with 760mm, and ahead of 2010 (third wettest) with 703mm.

Sydney Observatory Hill recorded 111mm of rain for February, slightly below the average of 118.2mm.

The rain fell over 18 days, well above the historical average of 12 days and the most since 2002.

Castle Hill’s wettest day last month was on February 20, with 37.5mm of rain recorded, and 2306.8mm for the two years from January 2010 to December 2011.

For the seven days to March 4, 69 mm was recorded.

Dural’s records, taken at Old Northern Road 200 metres above sea level, date back to 1973, where 2354.4 mm has been recorded for the same two-year period.

That’s slightly higher than Glenorie with 2033.8 mm.

Glenorie’s wettest day last month was on February 3, with 38 mm.

“I would say it’s not a very high number,” a spokesman for the Bureau of Meteorology told the News on Friday.

“It’s close to average for Glenorie for the period recorded [since 1930].

“The wettest year for Glenorie was 1950, with 1681.2 mm [of rainfall].”

He was unable to provide a two-year breakdown for nearby Webbs Creek at Wisemans Ferry, as it is a hydrology station, he explained.

The location had its wettest day on February 4 last month, with 39.5 mm, but this month’s rain may prove very disruptive for residents.

The SES has cancelled the Playground Weekender music festival which was due to be held at Del Rio Riverside Resort, Wisemans Ferry, on March 2 to 4.

The Tour de Hills Bicycle Classic was cancelled on Sunday, as was the Battle of Vinegar Hill at Castle Hill Heritage Park on Saturday.

The festival was cancelled under the State Emergency Service Act 1989.

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