Monday, December 26, 2011

Cyclone Grant update

Police at remote Croker Island in the Northern Territory say the local community has escaped serious damage from a category two cyclone. Tropical Cyclone Grant intensified into a category two system late on Christmas Day and came within kilometres of Croker Island.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the storm brought winds of 130 kilometres per hour and torrential rain.

Tropical Cyclone Grant is moving south across the Cobourg Peninsula.

The weather bureau predicts it will cross Van Diemen's Gulf overnight and reach land north of Jabiru in Kakadu National Park by the morning.

Residents living from west of Maningrida to Snake Bay, including Cape Don, Croker Island and Goulburn Island, have been advised to take shelter immediately. The bureau has told residents from Darwin to Milingimbi, including inland to Jabiru and Oenpelli, to make final preparations to their home shelters or decide which public shelter to use.

Meanwhile, at the absolute opposite end of the country, Melbourne has been lashed by a severe storm.

Wild storms packing hailstones the size of lemons and strong winds have battered Melbourne during a severe thunderstorm. Roads have been flooded and some flights have been grounded at Melbourne airport.

The tornado hit Fiskville, 15 kilometres west of Bacchus Marsh, with reports its force picked cars up off the ground. It is believed another tornado also struck Melton, which was one of the worst hit areas.

The weather bureau's Richard Russell says there was a tornado threat for about 20 minutes.

"The report we had was from a very credible storm spotter," he told ABC News 24. "He reported that a car was blown off or across the road as it went through."

Victoria's emergency services have already received hundreds of calls for help with reports of hailstones the size of lemons and roofs caving in from heavy rain.

At home, here on the Southern Tablelands, we had a hot muggy day with temps up around 37C (100F) with thunder storms threatening. As I write this rain is falling in town as a thunder storm front  bears down on us from Wagga Wagga in the west.

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