Some of the most famously dry and dusty places in Outback Australia are celebrating some seriously healthy rain over the past couple of days.
The Bureau of Meteorology says severe storms have brought three times the monthly average of rainfall to some towns in Queensland’s north-west. Overnight, a super cell triggered warnings for towns in the North West, Central West and Channel Country, including Cloncurry, Mount Isa, Winton and Windorah.
The ABC reports that the Shire of Cloncurry recorded 31mm of rain since 9am yesterday and Birdsville received 23mm, well above the average of 8mm for October.
“Lots of places are sitting around that 20mm mark,” BOM meteorologist Helen Reid said.
Long-time Birdsville resident David Brook said the drenching was a welcome weather change for the town.
“We had about 8mms in 10 minutes,” he told the ABC. “We’ve probably only received around 50 mm for the entire year and then today we’ve had at least 20mm.”
The BOM recently released its annual Severe Weather Outlook and it signalled an early start to the wet season.
“It is also likely that the first rains of the northern wet season will arrive earlier than normal for much of northern Australia,” BOM senior climatologist Greg Browning said in the report. “Warm waters to the north of the continent, and the sea surface temperature patterns across the tropical Pacific and Indian oceans, are driving our outlook towards more rainfall for eastern and northern Australia.”