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Old Lua soaks southern WA

Brett Dutschke, Monday March 19, 2012 - 15:56 EDT

Tropical Cyclone Lua had weakened below cyclone strength before it had reached the WA Goldfields but it still managed to soak the region and the area to the south with its heaviest rain in years.

Much of the Goldfields and Southeast Coastal gained 30-to-80mm of steady rain, one-to-two times the monthly average. This rain now takes the region above average for the year so far after a fairly dry start.

Kalgoorlie and Norseman both received about 60mm in the 24 hours to 9am today, their heaviest rain in 12 years.

Further south, Salmon Gums picked up 52mm, a five-year high and Esperance 42mm, a three-year high.

One of the wettest places in the last 24 hours was Edjudina, just northeast of Kalgoorlie, which gained 75mm, its heaviest rain in 11 years.

Southern WA normally doesn't do so well from tropical cyclones, regarding rainfall. The main reason it did better than usual this time was largely due to Lua making landfall as a severe category four system. This allowed it to maintain its cyclone status more than 500km from the ocean, its energy source.

It's the closest a cyclone has got to the Goldfields since February 2000, when Cyclone Steve made it all the way from Cairns to Broome to the Great Australian Bight.

The Goldfields and inland parts of the Southeast Coastal are now drying out as the remnants of Lua head to the Bight. For the rest of this week only light showers and drizzle will affect coastal areas, whilst the inland stays dry despite brisk southerly winds.

Meanwhile, the west coast, including Perth can expect clear skies to continue with dry and gusty southeasterly winds.

Perth's next best chance of rain is Sunday night or Monday, a month since it last had some. A low pressure trough will develop off the west coast and head inland, taking rain with it. This will end Perth's longest dry spell since February-to-April last year, when no rain was recorded in the city's gauge in 64 days.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2012

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