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Melbourne's wettest start to a year since 1911

Ben Domensino, Tuesday April 7, 2020 - 09:38 EST

After its third driest year on record, Melbourne is now having its wettest start to a year since 1911.

More than a month's worth of rain fell in Melbourne during the opening week of April. By 9am on April 7th, the city's monthly total had reached 86mm, well above the long-term April average of 57mm.

This past week's rain has brought Melbourne's running annual total for 2020 up to 348.4mm, as of 9am on Tuesday, April 7th. This is the city's highest total to this point in the year since 1911 (361.3mm) and the second highest in records dating back to 1856.

This feat is made even more impressive by the fact that Melbourne just endured one of its driest years on record.

In 2019, Melbourne only received 374.3mm of rain, making it the city's third driest year on record. Only 1997 (359.8mm) and 1967 (332.3mm) were drier.

The abrupt turnaround can be partially attributed to the breakdown of the strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole at the start of 2020. This climate driver underpinned a spell of abnormally dry weather in southeastern Australia towards the end of 2019.

Melbourne's average annual rainfall is 648.3mm and its wettest year was 967.5mm in 1916.

Melbourne's water storage level on April 6th was 61.12 per cent of capacity. This is the 10 percentage points higher than the same time last year and the highest level at this point in the year since 2017.

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