Perth’s August rainfall highest in 50 years as city experiences one of its wettest winters
You aren’t imagining it — Perth is experiencing an exceptionally wet month, recording its highest August rainfall in more than five decades.
A late winter drenching helped push the city’s monthly rainfall total to 178 millimetres as of 2:00pm on Wednesday, the highest monthly total for Perth since 191mm was recorded in 1965.
It is now also officially the wettest winter in 15 years, with 456.4mm recorded from June 1 to today.
It is the highest winter rainfall figure since 464.6mm was recorded in 2003.
Wet winter fuelled by a stream of cold fronts
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Neil Bennett said winter arrived right on cue after a dry autumn in Perth, with a steady stream of rain-bearing cold fronts sweeping up from the south.
“We were experiencing one of the driest autumns on record, but then we started to see the fronts arriving and they continued to arrive, almost really from the 1st of June,” he said.
“And we saw the cold fronts arrive with almost monotonous regularity, coming one after the other with very short breaks in between them.”
The rainfall total for June was 126.4mm, just shy of the 126.9 average for the month, while July recorded 152mm, slightly higher than the 146.6mm average.
The total for August so far is more than 50mm above the 122.1mm average.
Mr Bennett said the season was typical of the kind of winter Perth experienced a few decades ago.
“What we have experienced in the last 30 to 40 years has been one or two months in the winter where we’ve had a lot of rain, but then a very dry month,” he said.
“So this has been unusual in that all three months have been well over 100mm and all three months have been just below or above average.”
The season is however a far cry from the wettest winter on record, set when 957.1mm of rain fell in 1945.
Gap in rain records
While the current August rainfall total is the highest recorded at a Perth gauge since 1965, the BOM points out that there was a gap in records in 1992.
The official Perth rainfall gauge is in Mt Lawley and has been in use since 1993. The BOM uses its figures to report average rainfall.
The previous site was called the Perth Regional Office and ran from 1876 to early 1992.
“There is a little bit of a question mark because we do have a gap in our coverage for the rain gauges for Perth, because we didn’t have any information recorded in 1992 and in that year the airport recorded 193.2mm [in August],” Mr Bennett said.
“We can’t definitely say that that was the same as the official gauges for Perth, but certainly 1992 was a very wet year as well.”
There are a few showers to come in the next week, but you should be able to put the brollies away come spring time. (ABC News: Ebony Garlett)
Spring to bring some rain relief
The predictions for spring, however, paint an entirely different picture for Perth.
“It looks as if we will see another change arriving,” Mr Bennett said.
“The outlook is suggesting that the next three months are more likely to be warmer than average, but also more likely to be drier than average.
“That doesn’t mean the rain will just stop overnight and indeed we’ve got more rain over the next couple of days.”
A light shower or two is expected on Thursday, followed by cloudy conditions on Friday, before the sunshine returns just in time for spring on Saturday.
- Thursday: Shower or two, 9C-17C
- Friday: Cloudy, 7C-17C
- Saturday: Partly cloudy, 7C-19C
- Sunday: Mostly sunny, 7C-21C
- Monday: Sunny, 9C-20C
- Tuesday: Possible shower, 9C-19C