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Anthony Sharwood, 19 Oct 2021, 5:01 AM UTC

Canberra is looking ridiculously green right now

Canberra is looking ridiculously green right now

Back in the 1990s when the Canberra Raiders NRL team was winning grand finals, they turned city fountains green with dye and even the milk in supermarkets got a lime green tinge from food colouring.

You could be excused for thinking the Raiders had won this year (even though they missed the finals) because the entire national capital region looks like it has had industrial strength green dye tipped all over it.

Image: Wait, is that Ireland? To be sure it is not. Source: Liz Darvill.

Yes, Canberra is green right now. The view above is from Mt Painter in Belconnen looking towards the iconic Black Mountain.

In summer, these grasslands typically turn yellow, then brown, then a kind of dull grey in April and May – the city's two driest months. Occasionally the whole landscape turns to dust, which is pretty much what happened in the Black Summer of 2019/20.

But Canberra has had a pretty decent couple of years of rainfall since then.

  • The total rainfall in 2020 for the city's official station at Canberra Airport was 790.0 mm, which was 129% of the long-term average of 612.3 mm and the highest since 2010.
  • This year so far the rainfall has already exceeded the annual average, with 675.6 mm in the gauge.

Meanwhile Spring 2021 has also been lovely and wet by local standards to date.

  • The average total for the three months of spring (combined) is 178.8 mm.
  • So far in spring 2021, Canberra has already received 166.6 mm, which is almost its entire spring rainfall and we're just a day or two beyond the halfway mark of the season.

And that's why the city looks like this right now.

Image: Scrivener Dam is letting plenty of water out of Lake Burley Griffin right now. Source: Adam Shirley.

And this.

Image: Everyone calls those mountains the Brindabellas, but the Brindabellas are actually one range further back. These are the Tidbinbillas. Source: Robert Gotts.

But the lush greenness of Canberra right now is perhaps best summed up not by a landscape shot, but by a streetscape. Anyone who's spent time in Canberra knows how dry and dusty the lawns and unwatered areas of open space can get. Not right now.

Image: Anyone for lawn bowls? Source: Liz Darvill.

Canberra was actually tipped to get more rain this Tuesday, and while light to moderate falls have been recorded to the south and east of the city, the showers have missed the capital so far.

There's still the chance of more showers this week, however, especially on the weekend.