Broken Hill’s rainfall record smashed as deadly storm turns CBD into a ‘river’

Broken Hill’s rainfall record smashed as deadly storm turns CBD into a ‘river’

Parts of the iconic outback city of Broken Hill have received their highest rainfall totals since records began in 1884.

More than 140 millimetres fell on the Far Western New South Wales town, eclipsing the previous record of between 129mm and 139mm set on June 12, 1989.

Emergency services in the area were stretched as they rushed to carry out a series of flood-related rescues.

A 56-year-old man died after becoming trapped in floodwaters on Menindee Road, 35 kilometres east of the town.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, only 72.4mm fell at the airport, on the outskirts of town, but numerous locals have reported more than double that amount.


CBD ‘a river’, phones go down

Long-time local Jason King could hardly believe it when he saw a car floating in the centre of town.

“Blende Street turned into a river,” he said.

“Obviously we’re more used to, lately, big flash floods and a bit of water around the place.

More than 2,000 lightning strikes were recorded in and around Broken Hill overnight.(ABC Broken Hill: Bill Ormonde)

To make matters worse, telecommunications and internet services have been impacted by the wild weather, causing problems for authorities.

“Our phone systems did go down as well, so we had no mobile phone communication,” SES Broken Hill controller Ian Harvey said.

“My message to people is to please stay at home … stay off the road, you’re making it quite difficult for us and other emergency services to get to jobs.”

A dust storm sweeps across Broken Hill in outback New South Wales.
Broken Hill had a wetter summer than usual, but there were still plenty of dust storms.(ABC Broken Hill: Bill Ormonde)

‘Had to measure it twice’ 

Elaine Gillett believes a number of buildings and homes have been damaged in the city’s west, which was hardest hit.

“Well I was quite shocked,” she said.

“I had to measure it twice.

“The [community] radio station has got some leaks and there was water coming through their ceilings.

The storm comes after five wetter-than-average months that have seen Broken Hill more than double its average of 115.9mm, recording more than 270.4mm before yesterday.

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