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WA boasts new 'canyon' after rare south coast weather event

Jessica Hayes, Monday August 10, 2020 - 12:53 EST
ABC image
Run-off from heavy rain carved out this channel in a paddock north of Albany. - ABC

Farmers in WA's Great Southern may have been crying out for rain, but severe weather in recent weeks has proven that occasionally it is possible to have too much of a good thing.



A weather event last weekend delivered about 150 millimetres of rain in less than 24 hours just north of Albany on the state's south coast.

A torrent tore through Stephen Tuffley's paddock, creating what his son Mitch described as a "canyon" several metres wide and hundreds of metres in length.

He said the region had experienced a run of dry summers and a drier-than-average start to the season, which may have contributed to the devastating paddock wash.

"The canyon is about 200 metres and in parts it's up to five metres wide; my old man is about six foot and there's not much of him poking out the top when he stands in it.

"It's even wide enough to get a buggy in there to drive around, so it's shifted a lot of sand."



'I was blown away'

Mr Tuffley said the damage had to be seen to be believed.

"I was away for the weekend and I called Dad to see how much damage there was, and he actually talked it down," he said.

"I was blown away when I saw it, how wide and deep it was — it was a lot worse than I expected.

"It was pretty cool to see, but then you think about how you're going to fix it and the damage it's done, which is not the best feeling."



'Rare' rainfall event

James Ashley from the Bureau of Meteorology said such significant rain events were rare along the south coast.

"It might be a one-in-five-to-10-year event," he said.

"It's a bit more common to get falls of 50 to 100 millimetres near the west coast, but south coastal parts often miss out in the really heavy rainfall because it comes down in the north-westerlies generally.



"Most of the rainfall hits the west coast and peters out as it moves towards the south coast.

"Last weekend was quite interesting in that the , and so it actually smashed into the south coast rather than west coastal parts."


- ABC

© ABC 2020

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