Heat and floods in Western Australia

  • Heat and floods in Western Australia
    01.03.2011 08:08


    As the southern hemisphere enters its autumn, the weather has calmed down somewhat in much of Queensland and New South Wales, Australia, following the devastating flooding through the summer.

    In northern Queensland, though, the Cassowary Coast has still been suffering some torrential rain, with 600mm falling in the past four days.

    Western Australia had some extreme weather through February and into March, not least the near approach of two tropical cyclones.

    The first was Tropical Cyclone Dianne, which brewed up in the Timor Sea then tracked south-westwards to the north of the PilbaraCoast , bringing strong winds, torrential rain and floods to a few towns.

    It was followed by Tropical Cyclone Carlos which took a similar path but closer to the coast, renewing the flooding and producing damaging winds. A side effect was a tornado that hit the town of Karratha, toppling power lines and hurling cars around.

    Unrelated to the cyclones there were big storms in central, southern and south-eastern regions of Western Australia that also caused some flooding.

    In stark contrast, the southwest of the state has missed much of the rain and recorded its driest year on record, dating back to 1900. This is particularly notable given that in 2010 Australia as a whole had its second wettest year ever known.

    Moreover, in Perth it has become very hot during the past few weeks. In fact, it has experienced its hottest summer period ever, with the temperature for 22 straight days up to 28 February rising above 30 degrees Celsius, and on occasion breaching the 40 degree mark.

    The heatwave is continuing into Australia’s autumn, with temperatures having risen to 35C on Tuesday 01 March and expected to peak above 30C for a few days yet.

    By: Stephen Davenport