Weather News

Uluru just got a new tablecloth

Ben Domensino, Wednesday June 23, 2021 - 15:30 EST

Uluru has been shrouded by clouds and saturated with rain after Indian Ocean moisture took a journey across the Red Centre this week.

Australia’s iconic monolith is dry for most of the year. In fact, it usually only rains at Uluru on 42 out of 365 days each year.

But on Tuesday, a northwest cloudband carrying moisture-laden air from the Indian Ocean caused widespread rain across central Australia.

Image: A thick northwest cloudband can be stretching over Australia on Tuesday.

The photo below from @tinabear22_ on Instagram offers a unique perspective of Uluru, with low-level cloud masking the top of the rock. It’s unusual for the atmosphere to hold enough moisture to produce a cloud-base this low over central Australia. Official observations from Yulara Airport reveal that the cloud base was below 50 metres at 8am on Tuesday.

Image: A rare view of Uluru capped by clouds on Tuesday, June 22. Source: @tinabear22_ / Instagram

A rain gauge at Yulara Airport, located about 18km north of Uluru, collected 10mm of rain on Tuesday afternoon. This might not seem like much, but the site’s entire June average is only 17mm. It was also enough rain to cause waterfalls on Uluru.

Image: Waterfalls cascading down the sides of Uluru on Tuesday, June 22. Source: @tinabear22_ / Instagram

As Ant Sharwood explained during a similar event back in March, waterfalls only appear when big rock pools on Uluru fill up and overflow.

He also pointed out that the waterfalls are surprisingly noisy, as you can hear in the video above, which was also taken on Tuesday.

There’s something special about the sound of waterfalls at Uluru, given the closest ocean is roughly 680 kilometres away.

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