Late rains leave Queensland quenched and Sydney sodden

Australia's tropics get a late wet season boost, which also ends Sydney's summer sizzler.

    Late rains leave Queensland quenched and Sydney sodden
    Water washes Sydney's suburbs after a long warm and dry spell [Getty Images]

    Parts of northern Queensland have experienced the wettest March in more than a decade - and it's still only halfway through the month.

    Richmond, a town in the Northern Goldfields, has collected 209mm of rain, the heaviest March rain in 10 years and more than three times the March average.

    Townsville's average rainfall for the month of March is 190mm. This year, it has experienced rain every day since the start of the month, recording 542mm so far. This is more than was received during all of last year. 

    February shatters global temperature records

    March is supposed to be near the end of the wet season, with January traditionally being the wettest month.

    This year, though, the rain has been late and poor. January and February each gave Townsville between 80 and 90mm which represents only 15 percent and 27 percent of the long-term average, respectively.

    Much of the rain falls over the coast but would be better enjoyed inland, where it would fill the reservoirs. More than 80 percent of Queensland is currently in a drought after three failed wet seasons in the region. It is hoped that recent thunderstorms may change that situation.

    A happy spell of unusually wet weather a week ago went some way to relieving the drought. Outback Queensland was soaked by major thunderstorms, one of which left 130mm of rain in the town of Winton, the heaviest downpour for 20 years.

    Sydney drenched 

    Following an extended run of warm and dry weather, Sydney has also caught a soaking.

    The month of February was particularly dry in the New South Wales capital, with a mere 22 percent of the month's long-term average rain falling.

    The dry spell continued into the first half of this month, with a prolonged spell of warmth marking the end of summer. Every day was warmer than average, with 39 consecutive days recorded at over 26C. This is twice the length of the previous March record, set as recently as 2014.

    Elevated humidity made the heat uncomfortable, but eventually this reached complete saturation with the arrival of rain earlier this week. There has been plenty of it. The central business district has seen its wettest three-day run since early January.

    January was a particularly wet month in Sydney and the surrounding parts of New South Wales, but since then it has been virtually dry.

    Prospects in New South Wales have become rather more normal now with showers and warmth. As for Queensland, the north has a day or so more of torrents, then it is expected to become much drier.

    The wet season here should be coming to an end.

    With input from Weatherzone

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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