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Heavy rain, strong winds and dangerous surf over the long weekend

by BOM on 28 Jan 2013
water spout Lennox Head Byron Bay Jeni Bone
The Bureau of Meteorology is warning that ex-tropical cyclone Oswald will bring heavy rain, strong to gale force winds, and dangerous surf conditions to south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales over the long weekend.

The low-pressure system, which has taken a more than 2000km path from the top of Cape York Peninsula to the Queensland - New South Wales border, will continue to track south bringing heavy rain and the potential for major flooding to catchments as far south as the Hunter Valley.

The system is currently (Friday) near Mackay, and moving slowly south-southeast. Over the long weekend widespread heavy rainfall of around 200mm is expected. Intense localised falls in excess of 300mm, may lead to flash flooding in those areas.

Heavy rains will continue throughout the long weekend, so residents and holiday makers are being warned to stay tuned for updated forecasts and warnings through the Bureau's website and media channels, and exercise extreme care in planning their journeys.

For Queensland:
Falls of 300 to 400mm are expected for the Sunshine and Gold Coast hinterlands, and falls of 150mm to 250mm for inland areas west of the Great Dividing Range.

Along the coast continuous north-easterly winds will produce swells and dangerous surf conditions along the Fraser Coast and southern beaches throughout the long weekend. Sunday night significant wave heights of 3.5 to 4.5 metres are expected, with beach erosion also likely. High tide levels are also likely to be near the annual highest of the year, with inundation of low lying areas possible.

For New South Wales:
This slow-moving weather system will reach the far north-east of the state on Saturday, bringing heavy rainfall, before moving south to the mid-north coast and adjacent ranges on Sunday and Monday.

Communities at risk include Ballina, Byron Bay, Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Port Macquarie. On Sunday the rainfall is expected to extend west of the Dividing Range, affecting Moree and Inverell, and south to eastern parts of the Hunter Valley, including Newcastle.

Gale force winds will produce high seas and damaging surf conditions, with coastal erosion possible in vulnerable areas from Sunday.

The rain and wind will ease in most areas from Tuesday as the low-pressure system tracks eastwards, but dangerous surf will continue into Wednesday.

For the latest weather and warnings go to www.bom.gov.au
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