Country News

Victoria still waiting for rain

By Peter Nelson

The main interest in weather events across the nation over the past week has been the drought breaking heavy rains over most of the inland districts of QLD and the heavy to flood rains along the Coast from Ingham south to the Gold Coast.

Unfortunately all this rain will not reach Victoria and most of inland NSW where marked dry conditions look set to continue apart from brief moderate rains about 22nd March, up to about middle of April.

The town of Cloncurry which holds the Nation's record for the highest ever temperature recorded ; a reading of 53.8 degrees ( 127 F) on the 16th January 1889; was swamped by 186 mm rain in 4 days.

Julia Creek recorded a record daily fall for March of 127 mm last Monday 5th March and the month's total of 250 mm is already the 3rd highest for March in 110 years of records.

The higher readings were in 1971 and 2012. Winton recorded 184 mm in two days and 238 mm to date making this the wettest March since 249 mm in 1917. Mt Isa had a most welcome 146 mm rainfall the last week.

Out back QLD heavy rains early in March in the past have had a strong tendency to bypass our area and dry conditions have continued for many weeks and daily maximum temperatures above normal to well into April.

This year the heavy early March rainfalls in out back QLD was preceded by near record high temperatures for February on the 13th at many places in NW part of QLD and also at Richmond, Emerald and Charleville.

Previous records of very high temperatures at these places in late January to mid February which was then followed by heavy rains about two to three weeks later happened in 1903, 1947, 1983, 1996 and 2016.

All these five cases led to a significant wet year in our region from April onwards with a handy fall of rain during the 4th week of March.

A late warm to hot spell expected at the end of March , early April could result in the warmest Easter since 1955 in Victoria. Wet Easters are somewhat rare, the last one was in 1995.

Melbourne has had 39 days last summer when the temperature was over 30. The summers with the most days over 30 were in 1897-98, 1950-51 and 1980-81 when each had 50 days.

The Age Newspaper incorrectly stated the record number of days over 30 occurred in the summer of 1960-61 when there were 43 such days.

Perth last summer did not have a maximum temperature exceeding 38 degrees.

This was most unusual in it's self but Adelaide recorded 44 degrees last summer and the last time this particular event happened was back in 1905-06 and before that in 1898-99. The outlook after these extraordinary cases is very difficult to assess in our area.