IN WHAT seems like a cruel prank, a malfunction has led weather enthusiasts to believe close to 100mm fell in Mackay overnight.
SKY NEWS Chief Meteorologist Tom Saunders said many were left scratching their heads this morning after the Mackay rain gauge malfunctioned and recorded a false reading of 93mm in 24 hours.
However, Mr Saunders said the fake rain readings were a sign of what's to come, with some real rain forecast for the region over the next few days.
"What is going to happen is over the weekend, a very humid easterly air stream will develop on the Queensland coast and that is going to pump moisture in from the Coral Sea,” Mr Saunders said.
"That on its own is not enough for heavy rain; often with that kind of set up you will just have showers. However, that moisture is going to then interact with a cold pool of air that is coming up from the southern ocean and it's that interaction of warm air with cold air that's going to produce heavy rains.”
Mr Saunders said heavy rain would start in southern Queensland over the weekend before moving further north to Mackay with falls of up to 100mm likely.
"Early next week we should get some heavy falls through tropical parts of Queensland. Because the heaviest rain for Mackay probably won't turn up until Monday, it would be difficult to say how much at the moment although generally we are expecting 100mm along most of the Queensland coast over the next week,” he said.
"It's possibly Mackay will get 200-300mm but it is far too early to make that prediction yet.”
While Mr Saunders was hesitant to confirm falls higher than 100mm for the region, the Bureau of Meteorology's latest eight-day rainfall outlook shows total falls between 200-300mm for the Mackay region.
Mr Saunders said rain for Mackay and further north would bring welcome relief after the region missed out on falls last week.
"We have had some relief over the central and southern parts of Queensland over the last couple of weeks but the rainfall hasn't gone past St Lawrence,” he said.
"North of St Lawrence, that's where the totals have really dropped off in the past few months.
"Let's say Mackay did pick up 100mm of rain, that would become the heaviest rain for Mackay since Autums. We did have two days in May where we saw over 100mm over a two day period in Mackay. If we were to pick up over 150mm from this event, which is certainly possible, then we're going back to Cyclone Debbie in March.”
Mr Saunders said the promise of rain was great news for the entire state as many parts of Queensland are in drought, including areas north and west of Mackay.
"Mackay is not technically in drought but certainly parts of the Burdekin are. Many inland parts of Queensland are in drought as well,” he said.
"At the moment our models are indicating most inland parts of Central Queensland will see at least 50mm from this event.”
Mr Saunders said in terms of temperature, humidity would increase over the next few days as cloud cover increases and drops maximums temperatures in the region to around 26 degrees. Fresh winds will also be felt off the coast.
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