Below average rainfall, cyclones for NW wet season

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
Drone footage of flooding caused by cyclone Veronica in South Hedland and Boodarie.
Camera IconDrone footage of flooding caused by cyclone Veronica in South Hedland and Boodarie. Credit: Matt Anderson/7NEWS

Veronica was the strongest tropical cyclone in Australia during the 2018-19 wet season, but the North West still had below average rainfall and cyclone crossings.

The number of tropical cyclones for WA, typically the most active part of Australia, was below the average of seven, with only five in 2018-19.

Bureau of Meteorology severe weather meteorologist Craig Earl-Spurr said there were no coastal cyclone crossings but category 4 Veronica brought wind gusts in excess of 150km/h to coastal parts of the Pilbara between Port Hedland and Karratha.

“It also produced heavy rainfall and flooding through this area and adjacent parts of the inland Pilbara; due to being slow moving, the impacts of Veronica were felt over a few day,” he said.

Mr Earl-Spurr said this wet season had El Nino-like conditions which were associated with fewer tropical cyclones and less rainfall for northern WA.

“Northern WA gets a lot of its rainfall from tropical cyclones and this season the only cyclone that brought any significant rain was Veronica; the other cyclones (Riley and Wallace) remained well offshore,” he said.

Monsoonal rainfall across the north of WA started late, causing the associated tropical low and tropical cyclone activity to be relatively weak in terms of its impact.

Overall, rainfall across northern Australia was 16 per cent below the long-term average, the lowest since 2005.

“Parts of the northern Kimberley had very much below average to lowest-on-record rainfall,” Mr Earl-Spurr said.

BOM will release its season outlook for the 2019-20 wet season in October.

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