Weather News

Becoming an Alice Springs local

Ben Domensino, Tuesday February 16, 2021 - 13:10 EDT

They say that if you see the Todd River flow through Alice Springs three times, you'll never leave.

The ephemeral Todd River only flows after heavy rain in the Red Centre. For most of the year, its riverbed is as dry as a dead dingo's...you get the picture.

So if you want to see the river flow in earnest on three separate occasions, you'll need to stick around for a while.

After a dry start to 2021, this year's first decent bount of rain soaked Alice Springs late last week. As clouds rolled over the Red Centre, Alice Springs picked up about 20mm of rain late on Friday into Saturday morning. This was its highest daily total in two months. Further upstream, about 45mm fell at Wigley Gorge and at the Bond Springs turn-off.

By Saturday, brown water was flowing through Alice Springs and prospective locals were flocking to the river for a glimpse of the rare phenomenon.

Image: Water flowing through the Todd River last Saturday. Source: @siian_ / Instagram

Instagram user @billyraevirus was in Alice Springs for less than a week before witnessing the rare sight.

"I've been here 6 days, and I'm lucky to witness this!" she wrote.

"One third local! You can hear Spencer's Burrowing Frogs chortling happily."

Last week's rain was caused by a low pressure trough drifting across central Australia and interacting with tropical moisture. However, a high pressure ridge has since brought drier weather back to the region.

Looking ahead, dry weather looks set to continue well into the second half of February. This means that anyone waiting for the next Todd River flow should plan to stick around. It could be a while.

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