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Dry July turning a corner in WA

Brett Dutschke, Wednesday July 24, 2013 - 17:04 EST

July has been fairly dry for much of Western Australia, particularly the west but it is turning around with reasonable rain in the southwest overnight and more to come.

Not only has it been a dry July so far, but a dry start to winter. Most of the west and south of the state received less than 20 percent of their average June rainfall. Some places in the wheat belt and central west had their driest June in more than 100 years.

Perth had its second driest June in 130 years of records, only receiving a third of its average.

Despite last night's 19mm the city is still having its second driest winter to date since records began in 1876, with only 134mm so far.

The southwest, from Perth to Augusta to Bridgetown, gained widespread 15-to-50 millimetres, the heaviest so far this winter in many centres.

A front attached to a deep low pressure system slipped south, reducing the rain potential.

Overall, it was not a particularly aggressive system and moisture was not especially high but in the Mandurah-to-Margaret River area rain lasted 12 hours or more.

Donnybrook's 52mm overnight was its heaviest rain since last winter.

Remarkably Harvey gained 66mm, its heaviest rain in more than a decade.

For those that didn't pick up much, they can look forward to a more plentiful system this Thursday night and Friday.

The rain is still badly needed, most notably inland, where wheat crops are regaining some crucial moisture.

Unfortunately, the system will be more intense, bringing brief flash flooding to some parts and also potentially damaging winds.

Widespread 15-to-30mm is likely, although some pockets will only see five millimetres or less.

Regarding wind, gusts of 80-90km/h are possible in the southwest, including the Perth area with potential for 100km/h or stronger, most likely offshore. These winds would be strong enough to bring down trees, possibly powerlines, leading to blackouts.

With further, lighter showers over the weekend and early next week much of the southwest will be back on track to end July close to average.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2013

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