Pilbara weather turnaround as rains fall

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Storm clouds above Karratha.
Camera IconStorm clouds above Karratha. Credit: Pilbara News

With one month to go, the 2016/17 wet season has broken a half-decade run of underwhelming rainfall as gauges tip over the 400mm mark.

From the start of November to end of March, Karratha Aero recorded 412.2mm according to Bureau of Meteorology data, the sixth time on record more than 400mm has fallen in that period.

The past five wet seasons have failed to reach 250mm and this season represents a remarkable turnaround from the dismal 14.6mm recorded at Karratha Aero in 2015/16’s wet.

We are well short of the 2005/06 wet season, when 855.8mm was recorded by the end of April, and are unlikely to reach 2010/11’s high of 615.6mm either.

Aside from those two outliers, the other three big wet seasons in Karratha — 1998/99, 1999/00 and 2008/09 — each registered figures in the mid-400mm.

Further down the coast, Onslow’s season has been well above average, recording 273.2mm to the end of March.

The Ningaloo Coast appears to have missed most of the rain. Learmonth Aero has recorded a below-average wet season to date, with just 70.2mm in the gauge.

North of Karratha the Ngurin River is still flowing through Roebourne because of the consistent rainfall inland.

Roebourne itself has recorded 340.4mm.

Port Hedland missed most of the big rain dumps early in the year but made up for it in March. More than 300mm fell in the final days of March, bringing the wet season total to 513.2mm.

That is more than double Port Hedland’s average.

In inland Pilbara areas Paraburdoo Aero recorded 305.4mm, about 100mm above its average.

Hillside Station near Marble Bar has registered 528.4mm between November and March.

It averages about 230mm and last season recorded 197.2mm.

Newman has registered 390.5mm.

BOM has indicated we may have more rain yet, with a tropical low potentially developing over the next couple of days.

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