Vehicles submerged in Cairns suburb (file image)
A monsoon trough is dumping more rain on far north Queensland as it recovers from record flooding. Image by Nuno Avendano/AAP PHOTOS
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Rain soaks more areas, plus already flooded centres

January 15, 2024

Another week of rain is forecast for flood ravaged parts of Australia.

A monsoon trough continues to linger, dumping more rain on far north Queensland as it recovers from record flooding caused by Tropical Cyclone Jasper while the Northern Territory has again been impacted by a tropical low.

Capital cities including Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin and Canberra each experienced showers on Monday, or they were forecast. 

The far north Queensland community of Degarra is already at “breaking point” weeks after the cyclone wreaked havoc, with more rain on the way.

Areas between Townsville and Cairns on Monday reported 24-hour totals of between 100mm and 180mm. Innisfail copped 290mm.

The area north of Cairns that was hardest hit by flooding in December did not receive the heaviest falls, although the Douglas Shire’s Daintree region recorded 30mm overnight. 

Some far north communities are still largely isolated with more rain on the way after roads were cut off by landslides and almost 300 people were evacuated from Wujal Wujal north of Cairns.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said residents of flood-stricken Degarra are still trying to clean up Jasper’s aftermath as they brace for more rain.

“The residents of Degarra are at breaking point,” he said.

The Queensland government sent caravans as temporary accommodation but they are a three-hour walk away from Degarra residents.

“It’s a ludicrous situation that we can provide assistance for countries overseas within hours but our residents have been waiting over a month since the disaster … and they’re yet to see any,” Mr Kerr said.

A tree fallen on a car in a Darwin backyard
 A severe weather warning forecasts damaging winds up to 90km/h for the Top End’s west. Image by HANDOUT/SUPPLIED 

The slow moving monsoon trough is not expected to drift away from the far north until next week.

“It is going to be a wet week across north Queensland,” the Bureau of Meteorology’s Angus Hines told AAP.

Widespread totals of 100mm to 200mm of rain are forecast across north Queensland until the end of the week.

Isolated rainfall totals are expected to be higher on the west coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

There is a low risk of a cyclone forming off Queensland but even if it does intensify it is expected to shift toward the Coral Sea away from Australia.

The Northern Territory has also been hit hard with rain after a tropical low developed southwest of Darwin, with falls of 500mm or more expected this week.

The slow moving system brought heavy falls to western parts of the Top End, with 335mm dumped on Wadeye.

Widespread falls of 50mm to 100mm falls were over much of the region with the tropical low expected to gradually drift southeast this week, moving inland.

“We have got several more days of further heavy rainfall, particularly across  the western top end of the Northern Territory,” Mr Hines said.

“Between now and the end of the week we are looking to see fairly widespread rainfall across that northern part of the country.”

Driving rain and high winds cause havoc with Sydney commuters
 Sydney and surrounding areas had an overnight drenching. Image by Toby Zerna/AAP PHOTOS 

There is a severe weather warning current, with heavy rain, monsoon squalls and damaging winds of up to 90km/h forecast for the Top End’s west.

The system is likely to remain as a tropical low off the NT, with a very low risk of intensifying into a cyclone, the bureau said.

Sydney and surrounding areas had an overnight drenching, with the State Emergency Service receiving 300 calls on Sunday night and Monday morning, mostly from the city’s storm-hit northern beaches.

Authorities warned slow-moving showers and thunderstorms forecast for Monday and Tuesday had the potential to cause flash flooding in parts of NSW’s mid-north coast and Northern Rivers, as well as the far west.