Hope for cricket fans as clouds forecast to clear over Canberra
The weather system that has wreaked havoc down the east coast of Australia will start to turn away from the mainland and head out to sea on Tuesday, clearing the way for a relatively fine afternoon and for an on-time start to Ricky Ponting's farewell match at Manuka Oval.
The Bureau of Meteorology's Sean Carson said the wet, wild conditions associated with ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald had contributed to significant rainfall both in Canberra and around the region over the past 24 hours.
“We've had a good drop overnight, certainly very nice rainfall,” Mr Carson told ABC radio this morning.
Canberra Airport recorded 16.2 millimetres of rain up to 7am, with almost 10 millimetres of that falling since midnight. Braidwood has had more than 65 millimetres, Goulburn almost 40 millimetres, and the South Coast has been lashed in parts with close to 100 millimetres.
Mr Carson said that while the heavy rain would continue on the coast until about lunch time, Canberra had already had the bulk of its rainfall.
“Really, there's only a shower or two left in it for Canberra now,” Mr Carson said. “There's not a lot of precipitation to come. It's still unstable and we could see a shower at any stage today and some chance of a thunderstorm but it would only be brief.”
Mr Carson said that with only about 15 millimetres on the ground overnight and a relatively dry day ahead, cricket fans waiting for news on today's PM's XI match at Manuka shouldn't be disappointed.
“It doesn't sound too wet – I'm not sure what the drainage is like … but ask the groundskeeper, they know everything,” Mr Carson said.
“I think we'll even see some sunshine this afternoon.”
Manuka Oval venue manager Matthew Tokley told Fairfax he was confident play would go ahead on time, pending any unexpected rain.
"There's no significant pooling of water that can't be managed at this stage," Mr Tokley said.
He said the pitch was ready, and the inner circle had been covered overnight, but there was still some mopping up to do.
"The guys will be working hard this morning," he said.
The oval's curator Brad Van Dam told Fairfax on Monday the ground had coped well with the wet conditions of the past 48 hours and he expected an ideal pitch for one-day cricket.
"I think we will see lots of runs," he said.
The clear conditions are forecast to continue in the capital over the next two days, with the Bureau forecasting a mostly sunny 29 degrees on Wednesday and 31 degrees and clear skies on Thursday before a return of scattered showers on Friday and over the weekend.
Despite the forecast of clearing conditions, parts of Queensland and northern NSW are still bracing for flood conditions, while other areas are faced with huge clean-ups after devastating floods.
In Queensland, the floods have claimed four lives, while many required emergency evacuation by helicopter as flood peaks approached. Thousands of people in northern NSW have spent the night in evacuation centres, and Sydney has seen some of the heaviest rainfall in decades.
Coastal areas, including the NSW south coast, have also been warned to expect damaging winds and dangerous surf conditions, while authorities are also urging people to prepare for flash flooding as the weather system moves through on Tuesday morning.
The ACT SES on Monday extended an offer of rescue and clean-up crews to help as needed in Queensland and NSW. As of Tuesday morning, no request for additional resources from the capital had been made. The ACT SES received 676 calls for help following wild storms in Canberra on Australia Day. One unit of volunteers recommenced work on Tuesday morning to complete outstanding jobs.