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Bureau of Meteorology predicts wet weather and cooler temperatures for Darwin

By Lauren Roberts, Monday January 20, 2020 - 10:32 EDT
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Forecasters are predicting "monsoon-like" conditions for Darwin this week. - ABC licensed

Darwin has only recorded a third of the rain it usually does before January 20, but the return of monsoonal conditions this morning is set to help the Northern Territory capital catch up.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Mosese Raico advised Top Enders to prepare for a soggy week, with a high chance of rain predicted from today until Thursday.

Daily rainfall totals of between 4mm and 30mm are expected, Mr Raico said, but the Darwin still needed a lot of moisture to reach its usual average.

"The average for the month of January was about 429mm and we're currently sitting at about 155mm," Mr Raico said Sunday.

"So there's a bit of catching up to do to get back to our average for January."

The entire wet season to date had been dry, Mr Raico added.

"[Darwin has] recorded 324mm since the 1st of October," he said.

"And the average for this time of year up to the end January is about 900mm.

"Hopefully we'll see some better rainfall totals that will help to push our monthly average and our wet season average amounts that we are seeing."

In more good news, Mr Raico said Darwin could also expect cooler temperatures this week.

"And keeping those temperatures down as well from what we'd usually expect — probably low 30s," he said.

"Definitely a lot cooler in terms of what we've been seeing of late.

"It's still going to be quite humid."

Looking ahead, Mr Raico said a tropical low could be on the cards late next week.

"As we head into the later part of this week, maybe next weekend, we may see a focus potentially of those westerly [winds] into maybe potentially a low," he said.

"At this stage it's a bit hard to see where we'll see that low develop.

"We'll just have to wait and see."

Wet weather prompts health warnings

A St John Ambulance NT spokeswoman urged Territorians to take care on the road in wet conditions, slow down and turn their lights on.

"Please stay indoors if there is lightning," she added.

"And remember to wear gloves and shoes if you're outside in the garden."

The spokeswoman said melioidosis thrived in wet conditions, so it was important to cover up if people planned to handle soil.

The disease is caused by germs which live in the soil, which get blown around and enter the body through cuts and scratches in the skin.

Last week, NT Health issued a health warning explaining that recent rains had increased the threat of the potentially deadly disease.

There are about 50 cases of the soil-borne disease reported in the Northern Territory each year and the majority of cases are diagnosed between October and May.

Dr Vicki Krause, Director of Disease Control and Environmental Health, Top End Health Service, said last wet season there were 42 cases of melioidosis and one reported death.

"In past years around 10 per cent of infections have been fatal, even with the best medical care," Dr Krause said.

Melioidosis can cause a variety of symptoms and signs including fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, abdominal pain, urinary symptoms and occasionally headache and confusion.



© ABC 2020

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