Weather Wize

Phenomenal rains in Broome again

By Peter Nelson

The last four days has seen very heavy to flood rainfalls again in Broome.

This follows the very heavy rainfalls in Broome at the end of January resulting in a record total for January of 915.6 mm.

To 9 am last Saturday, February 17, a total of 370.6 mm fell and this is a record daily fall for February and broke the 1932 record daily fall for February which was 302.5 mm on February 3, 1932. The next day another 96 mm fell in Broome.

So far this month 545 mm have fallen in Broome and the total this year to date has reached 1471 mm and this is only 25 mm short of the record wettest year of 2000 when 1496 mm. Broome could become the wettest ever town in northern WA this year.

Kalumburu currently holds this record when 1836 mms fell in 1955 which was a very wet year in our regions. High level cirrus clouds just this last weekend was observed to be moving from the NW and this is a good sign of rain.

Moisture levels from tropical cyclone Kelvin which gave Broome all that rain is anticipated to invade our regions this week resulting in hot and humid conditions. Isolated thunderstorms are likely, the heavier falls around the weekend of February 24 and 25.

Any rain would be most welcome. The first half of this month has been very dry indeed, the driest in our regions at most places since 1991. It was the driest first half of February in Coonabarabran since 1982. That year heavy rain fell in early March.

The first half of February 1955 was rainless in Coonabarabran, but a huge deluge of 292 mm fell during the last half of February 1955. The previous record daily fall for February of 302 mm in 1932 at Broome did set up violent thunderstorms across Victoria about three days later.

My mother who was staying at Mornington told us of a terrifying night she experienced during a violent thunderstorm in February that year. Many years later I did look up rainfall data for Mornington and found that 24 mms fell on Friday night, February 5 1932. (well before my time)!!

Tropical cyclone Gigie, which did lot of damage to Fiji a few days ago, is now sitting in the Tasman Sea and will provide more humid air to our regions as winds tend to be easterly the next few days.