Wet All Round

Published: April 13, 2011

With so much ridiculously unpredictable weather about it is getting increasingly difficult for grey nomads to effectively plan their Big Lap calendars with any degree of certainty.

Trips north and into the Outback are on hold as eager travellers are forced into a holding pattern while Mother Nature has her say.

The wet weather on the east coast and in Outback Queensland and South Australia has, of course, caused well-publicised chaos, but the situation is not much better in the west. Indeed, last month yet more rainfall records were broken in the Kimberley region in what meteorologists are calling an “exceptional” period of weather.

All time monthly rainfall records were broken at Gibb River, Mount Amhurst, Ruby Plains and Warmun. The Durack Range recorded the highest total for March with a staggering 739 millimetres!

Recent heavy rain in the East Kimberley has also seen Lake Argyle reach a new water level record, breaking the mark set just a couple of weeks ago. Water is now pouring 9.13 meters over the spillway at a rate of nearly 1.4 million litres per second. The surface area of the lake currently stretches over 1,500 square kilometres.

The ABC reports that, after a record wet season in northern WA, there are plenty of people in the Kimberley hoping the dry season is about to begin. Spot on, Auntie.

Long range forecaster Patrick Ward says the region should see a brief period of relatively dry conditions, but warns of a system forming in the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf late next week.

“It’ll be some sort of weak low and just depending on how that moves will depend on where that rain falls.”

Mr Ward says the three-month outlook is showing no indication of being wetter or drier than average. But, he says, the La Nina system in the Pacific is slowly breaking down.


“We’re running into what’s called a predictability barrier, where the climate system is essentially re-setting itself,” he said. “We’re seeing the breakdown of a very strong La Nina…. and expecting neutral conditions into winter.”

Hooray, hooray! But what’s this, Patrick isn’t finished.

“Having said that,” he says (uh oh!). “The water temperatures are so warm off our north coast, that if we were going to get an extended wet season, this would be the year to get it.”

Jeez! This timing the trip business is getting tougher and tougher, isn’t it? At least Happy Hour is always reliable. Hmmm! Talking of which ….

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