Wild weather and flash flooding for Parkes: 23-85mm of rain drenches town

After months of next-to-nothing rainfall, Parkes has been in the pathway of two large rain events this month that has also brought with it some wild weather.

Residents were cheering and welcoming the much-needed rain yesterday afternoon, but the not-so-welcome destruction which saw flash flooding in several streets, broken tree limbs, and mud and vegetation scattered across roads, lawns and in gutters.

The amount of rain appeared to be widespread, much like the earlier rain event on the night and early morning of January 6 and 7, but this time it was in greater volumes.

The downpour began from 4.16pm, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), though there had been earlier drops in the day measuring between 0.2-2.5mm.

While one side of town was drenched - to the west received 55mm, to the east between 46-60mm and in the north, a resident in Pioneer Street said he recorded 85mm. Another side of town had 23mm, in the Middleton area and 30mm in the Lynch/MacArthur Street area.

Eugowra Road had 32mm, Deep Lead Road - north of the township - is reported to have received 42mm and Tichborne 45mm.

The BOM weather station at the Parkes Airport recorded 35.8mm - which, based on its records is the most received in a 24-hour period since December 2017 (55.2mm on December 2) and in a month since March (47mm for the whole month) last year.

Six millimetres fell at the airport within five minutes between 4.19pm and 4.24pm.

All the while lightning lit up the sky, hail hammered windows and rooftops, and wind gusts reached a peak of 93km/h at 4.26pm, bringing down wires in Wentworth Street at 4.29pm.

Parkes' official BOM rainfall total for the month now sits at 60.6mm.

Parkes recorded the heaviest rainfall in the region yesterday with the BOM's 35.8mm - Cowra received 33.6mm, Orange 19.4mm and Forbes had 14mm, who was also contending with lightning strikes which one had ignited a tree.

Residents and Parkes Shire Council staff were in clean-up mode this morning, with workers clearing mud and vegetation off the road in Wentworth Street, near Bushmans Hill.

Bushmans Dam and surrounding streets were in a mess too, with fallen tree limbs, a large road sign down and floodwaters reaching the footpath.

BLACKOUT: The affected areas of the power outage at 6pm on Thursday - in total more than 5000 people in these areas were in the dark. Photo: Essential Energy

BLACKOUT: The affected areas of the power outage at 6pm on Thursday - in total more than 5000 people in these areas were in the dark. Photo: Essential Energy

More than 5000 people were without power after the storm, with the outage stretching beyond Tottenham, patches down past Forbes and to the east of Eugowra.

According to the Essential Energy website, some areas had been in the dark since 2.42pm, while the majority occurred between 4.16pm and 5.27pm.

There were 1947 homes and businesses in Parkes' township without power at one stage.

Just 10 days earlier, Parkes - particularly in the east - was hit hard by a sudden storm leaving behind similar damage and the BOM recording 24.8mm in total.

Parkes' total monthly rainfall in the last 12 months, according to the BOM:

  • January 2020 (so far): 60.6mm
  • December: 7.4mm
  • November: 10.2mm
  • October: 13.4mm
  • September: 14.2mm
  • August: 14.2mm
  • July: 14.2mm
  • June: 31.8mm
  • May: 26mm
  • April: 0
  • March: 47mm
  • February: 10.2mm
  • January 2019: 41.2mm

Another 10-20mm is forecast for Parkes on Sunday and Monday, with a 70-80 per cent chance of it occurring.