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Maryam Al-Ansari, 31 Mar 2024, 3:24 AM UTC

March 2024 status... very wet

March 2024 status... very wet

At the end of the month, most of Australia is spending the long weekend with clear skies and calm weather. But this is not at all a reflection of what we saw in March 2024. 


Fig. 1) Total rainfall over the country from March 1st 2024 to March 31st 2024 (BoM) 

This March was wetter than average for many parts of the country. This is owing to the active monsoon bursts we had this month and the systems that capitalised on the tropical moisture by drawing it to the country’s south through troughs, and tropical lows, including tropical cyclones Megan and Neville. 

In Australia’s central and eastern tropics we see the greatest impact: 

Cities in the top half of Queensland saw above-average rainfall in March with; 

  • Topaz and Menavale saw the 3rd wettest March on record after 2018 and 2004/2012 respectively. Both cities received close to 2 times the month’s average rainfall (196% of March’s average rainfall for Topaz and 200% for Menavale). 
  • Other cities including Nerada,  Kuranda, Cairns, Cape Flattery, Malanda, Tewantin, Ravenshoe, Mornington Island, Rainbow Beach, Escott, Westmoreland, Burketown, Point Lookout, Mareeba, Normanton, just to name a few, received more than 2 times the average March rainfall this month. 

The Qld coast also saw above average rainfall, but not to the extent of the state’s north. 

Similarly the Northern Territory also saw substantial rain this month, thanks to Tropical Cyclone Megan: 

  • Groote Eylandt had the second wettest March on record after 2007, receiving 331% of the monthly average rainfall this March. 
  • Centre Island had the third wettest March on record after 2017 and 2001, receiving 352% of the monthly average rainfall this March. 
  • Birrindudu received 8.6 times the monthly average rainfall this March, whilst Newhaven received 7 times the monthly average, Suplejack received 6.7 times the monthly average and Lajamanu, Helens Springs and Elliot received 5.4 to 5.7 times the amount. 

In northern South Australia: 

  • The rainfall in Queensland is contributing to the filling of Lake Eyre. See this story for more information. 
  • Moomba in the far north of the state saw 250% of its average monthly rainfall in March 2024, making it the 2nd wettest March on record! Second to March 2010. 
  • Both Penong and Marree saw almost 4 times the average March rainfall this month (Penong saw 384% of the monthly average and Marree Airport saw 392%), while Nullarbor and Koonamore saw almost 3 times the average March rainfall this month (Nullarbor saw 273% and Koonamore saw 293%). 

While other states including New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia saw above-average rainfall in parts of the state, they also saw below-average rainfall in others. The only state with an overall below-average wetness this March was Tasmania. 

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