Last week's rain event and more to come

March 27, 2017
The rain which fell early last week in our regions was welcome. Rainfalls were quite variable. The heaviest falls were around the Dubbo, Parkes, Forbes and Condobolin areas. Dubbo which has had 195 mms so far this month is having it's wettest March since 1926. Forbes with 186 mms so far this month is having it's wettest March since 1950. Parkes with 183 mms is having it's wettest March since 1926 whilst Condobolin with 193 mms is having it's wettest March since 1956.

A survey of past very high rainfalls in March at these four places in conjunction with high rainfalls in September the previous year which also happened last year does indicate further heavy rain events in the coming months in our regions.

Heavy rain fell last week around round the Otway Peninsula. Aireys Inlet recorded the heaviest daily fall for March with 101 mms. This was the heaviest daily fall since 301 mms fell there on February 16th 1954. I recall February 1954 being a most unusual month with sea surface temperatures along the east coast from QLD right down to East Tasmania being well above normal. A tropical cyclone did move south along the coast from QLD all the way to NE Tasmania about a week after the Aireys Inlet deluge. I still have the daily weather maps out of the newspapers in a book for 1953 to 1955 and they are still in quite good conditions in my sixth home in over 60 years.

Further rain in WA occurred last week. Perth has just completed the first three months of this year with above average rainfalls. This has happened previously on only four occasions since 1876. These were in 1915, 1918, 1963 and 1968. All four were exceptionally wet years in Perth, whilst the late autumn and late winter months were much wetter in our regions.

The long sequence of warmer than average nights in Melbourne ; the average minimum temperature this month to date is 17.1 looks set to break the March records of 16.5 in 1856 and 16.8 in 1974. Both 1856 and 1974 were years of excessive rainfalls in our regions.

Last week very heavy rain fell at Port Hedland, nearly 300 mms in 3 days, the heaviest for March since 1941. The Goldfields station of Laverton has now had it's wettest January to March period with 364 mms since 420 mms in 2000. The January to March period last year at Laverton was also much wetter than average as was 1942, 1955 and 1963.

The Current synoptic charts show Tropical cyclone Debbie about the make landfall near Mackay. At this stage the cyclone may not move in our direction.
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