Autumn rainfall outlook promising


Agribusiness
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IT is being predicted that WA will experience a wet February to April, ideal for those hoping to get an early start to the 2018 cropping season.

IT is being predicted that WA will experience a wet February to April, ideal for those hoping to get an early start to the 2018 cropping season.

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The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said there was a 75 per cent chance of “wetter than average” weather likely for most of the State, except the South West corner.

The outlook highlights smaller patches in the tropical north were also likely to be wetter than average.

The wetter conditions would see a 75pc chance of 25 millimetres to 50mm across much of the State, with from 100mm to 400mm in the Kimberley and along its coastal areas.

There is also a 25pc chance from 50mm to 100mm across the southern half of the State.

BOM puts it down to “weak La Niña conditions which continue in the tropical Pacific Ocean”, however its models suggest it will dissipate during autumn.

On Tuesday morning West Roebuck recorded 444mm of rain in 23 hours – thanks to severe weather hitting the coast.

Some coastal areas of the Kimberley, from Broome to Kalumburu, recorded more than 100mm of rain on Monday night through to Tuesday morning, while the inland and eastern Kimberley varied from 10mm through to 49mm.

The Pilbara also received rain with 17mm recorded at West Angela’s Airport, Paraburdoo and the Telfer Airport saw 58mm in 24 hours to Tuesday morning.

The Kimberley Pilbara Cattlemen’s Association chairman David Stoate said he had already experienced three times his average rainfall for the month of January on Anna Plains station about 250kms south of the Broome Port, and it was still “raining”.

Anna Plains recorded 36mm of rain in 24 hours on Tuesday morning

“It’s been a good wet season so far this year,” Mr Stoate said.

“For January we have had 325mm – that’s three times our average – which is about 110mm.”

Mr Stoate said he normally saw 420mm as an annual average.

“We are expecting a very wet February to April,” he said.

“Too much rain can be an issue though, as there is a risk of flooding.”

He said his grasses were set up nicely for the coming season with enough subsoil moisture on hand but “hopefully we can get some clear weather to get it going”.

BOM issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Pilbara and Gascoyne regions on Monday, as well as a severe weather warning for the Kimberley.

Flood warnings were issued across much of the Kimberley and Sandy Desert regions and along the Fitzroy River.

Apart from the threat of damaging winds, heavy rainfall was expected, which could lead to flash flooding with daily rainfall totals of 100mm to 200mm.

Isolated falls in excess of 250mm were also expected over the Kimberley.

BOM said the passage of a tropical low over the Kimberley was typical for this time of the year but winds and rain might cause damage to property and make road conditions hazardous.

A fire weather warning was also issued on Monday for the Gascoyne and South Interior districts due to “very hot with fresh and gusty south-easterly winds” expected across the region.

Early this week fires were also experienced in Badgingarra, Nyabing, Australind and Roelands, Gidgegannup and Lower Chittering.

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