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Anthony Sharwood, 03 Apr 2024, 7:00 PM UTC

Desperately dry in southwest WA

Desperately dry in southwest WA

Patience is part of life, but locals in Perth and neaby parts of southwest Western Australia must be running out of it as skies just refuse to cloud over and deliver desperately needed rain.

Weatherzone wrote a story two weeks ago about how Perth was on the verge of recording its driest six-month spell on record. That's exactly how things turned.

  • Just 21.8 mm of rain fell in Perth from October 2023 through March 2024, breaking the old low record of 37 mm.
  • April has also started dry and unfortunately looks like remaining that way for at least the next week. Indeed, no rainfall has been recorded in Perth since March 9, when 1.2 mm of rain fell.

Looking ahead, the next seven days in Perth will not only be bone dry, but unseasonably warm too, with a potential run of six days with top temps of 30°C or higher. That hasn't happened since 2020, while a run of seven consecutive days of 30°C or higher in April has only been recorded once previously.

The Australia-wide rainfall deciles chart for March tells an unwelcome story not just for residents of Perth but for other parts of far southern Australia.

Source: BoM.

As you can see, the southwest corner of WA, southeast SA, and most of Vic and Tas had severe rainfall deficiencies or even their driest March on record, as persistent blocking highs parked themselves over the Southern Ocean, preventing moisture-laden cold fronts from moving north.

Unusually, the eastern half of central and southern WA saw heavy rain in March due to a tropical moisture feed which we wrote about extensively as parts of the Nullarbor flooded.

Meanwhile there was heavy rain on Monday across most of Victoria and Tasmania, relieving the situation in those states to a degree.

But for Perth, there was no love from the weather gods in March and as mentioned, the pattern has not yet broken, with no indication of significant or indeed any rain over the next week or immediately beyond that time frame.

And it's not just the WA capital that remains parched.

Busselton is a coastal town just over 200 km south of Perth which is known as the gateway to the Margaret River wine region. As you can see on the graph below, so far this year it has had just 0.8 mm of rain.

There was 0.4 mm on one day in January, the same amount on one day in February, and literally nothing in the whole of March or in April to date.

So when you hear people from Perth and nearby parts of Western Australia complaining about the dry spell, it is definitely not sour grapes.

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