Darwin’s wettest day in five years

Australia’s Top End gets its heaviest monsoon wetting in years.

Waterfalls caused by heavy rain run down the side of Australia''s famous Uluru rock formation in central Australia
Waterfalls caused by heavy rain run down the side of Australia's famous Uluru rock formation in central Australia [Reuters]

The seasonal monsoon trough, containing a tropical depression, has redeveloped over Australia’s Top End this week, bringing Darwin its heaviest rain in five years.

Darwin received its highest wet season 24-hour total rain catch since 2012. Some 144mm was collected in the rain gauge and a severe weather warning is in place for damaging winds and heavy rain for Tuesday and Wednesday, along with a flood watch for Northwest Coastal Rivers.

The low should move down the coast into the Kimberley on Thursday, taking its rain with it. However, the Katherine River is expected to flood and flooding in Northern Territory may still last until the end of the week.

The north is famous for its wet season, which runs from November to April, when the vast majority of the region’s rain falls. In El Nino years, the summer monsoon tends to be drier than average, and last year was no exception. This year there is no such influence.

Warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures and greater evaporation have contributed to an early onset of the summer monsoon this year by increasing the moisture early in the season.

While this is the first real spell of heavy rain this far north, the Red Centre of Australia has had an extraordinarily wet spring and summer, so far.

To the west of Alice Springs, some communities, including Kintore and Kiwirrkurra, are still cut off. Aircraft companies are dropping food and supplies to Northern Territory communities stranded by continuing wet weather.

Pilot Peter Bergin told Australia’s ABC news: “The thing that really amazes me is seeing cattle yards which were dust bowls are now lush, green, small fields, and to see the rejuvenation of scarred land from bushfires which was all black a couple of months ago and is now brighter than any grass there is around the place. To see grass growing where there was previously dust is quite an amazing thing to see.”

Source: Al Jazeera