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Anthony Sharwood, 22 May 2024, 2:07 AM UTC

Adelaide facing driest May on record

Adelaide facing driest May on record

It tried to rain on Sunday night, and the clouds even managed to squeeze out 0.6 mm of rainfall by 9 am Monday, but Adelaide's desperately dry May continues with no immediate end in sight.

That paltry 0.6 mm is Adelaide's total rain for May 2024 to date and snapped a 29-day dry spell which came on the back of extremely dry months in March and April and a totally rain-free February.

  • May is usually one of Adelaide's wettest months with an average of 67.9 mm at the city's West Terrace/ngayirdapira site in records stretching back to 1839 – a significant period of data considering the city was only founded in 1836.
  • Adelaide's lowest May rainfall on record was 2.6 mm in 1934 at West Terrace/ngayirdapira, and 8.2 mm in 2005 at the Kent Town weather station, which served as the city's official weather station for 40 years from 1977 to 2017.

Whichever way you look at it, Adelaide is facing the distinct possibility of its driest May in 185 years of records.

So will it rain before June?

Almost certainly not in the week from this Wednesday to next Wednesday, no.

Beyond that period, there's a glimmer of hope towards the end of the month. The BoM's ACCESS-G model shows moisture associated with a cold front flicking the southeast of SA with the chance of thunderstorms. But this is a very marginal system that could slide too far south to impact Adelaide.

Image: The charts suggest some hope of rain, but it definitely wouldn't hurt to touch some wood, cross your fingers or do a rain dance.

Meanwhile as dry lawns crackle underfoot in the suburbs, the combined capacity of Adelaide's water storages is at 45%, compared to 56% on this day last year.

It's relatively normal for dams to be low at this time of year after the traditionally dry summer and early autumn period, but South Australians will have their fingers and toes crossed for substantial rains in the coming winter months.

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