Better late than never

Late start to above average wet season forecast for North Queensland


Asha Rule pulled on her gumboots to play in the mud following a downpour on a cane farm near Babinda.

Asha Rule pulled on her gumboots to play in the mud following a downpour on a cane farm near Babinda.

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Despite a late start, a wetter than average wet season is forecast for the North.

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ANTICIPATION is building – along with the humidity – that North Queensland it on track to receive above average rainfall this wet season.

While the onset of the wet has been later than usual, some areas received welcome relief as scattered thunderstorms lashed the North in the first week of January.

Brinawa Station, about 60km south of Burketown received 106mm in just one day on Sunday.

Property owner Annie Clarke said it was the heaviest fall recorded on her station in years after struggling through several failed wet seasons.

In 2015, they recorded just 211mm for the year and 2016 was not much better with 271mm.

“Last year was a lot better than the two previous years, it was good at the beginning of the year but in December we only got 37mm,” Mrs Clarke said.

”Even last year the highest was 50mm in one fall, and low and behold in one day, the first falls of the year we had 106mm in one massive storm.

“It is the biggest, widest storm we have had in quite some time.”

Mrs Clarke said after destocking their property due to suit dry conditions, the number of calves on the ground this year was “astronomical.”

Gilberton station owner Lyn French said her property, which is about 180km south west of Georgetown on the head of the Gilbert River, had received 42mm on January 2 and another 21mm on Saturday night.

“It’s not over the whole region and it’s still very patchy, but it’s nice anyway, that’s for sure,” Mrs French said.

“Looking at the chart we might be in for some at the end of the week.”

Coastal areas have received the heaviest falls in the North so far this year, with Asha Rule, 5, pulling on her gumboots to enjoy a storm at a cane farm Woopen Creek, near Babinda at the weekend.

Toby Rule, 11 and Jaspa Stafford,11, with Bailey the dog at a cane farm near Babinda.

Toby Rule, 11 and Jaspa Stafford,11, with Bailey the dog at a cane farm near Babinda.

Bureau of Meteorology Townsville meteorologist Doug Fraser said despite the late on-set of the wet, North Queenslanders could still hope for an above average wet season.

“Our prospects are better in the north than have been in the last few years, we do have a La Nina event which normally brings above average rain,” Mr Fraser said.

“This year it will be a fairly shortlived and weak La Nina. We do not expect widespread flooding like 2010/11 but we should see better prospects for rain than last few years.”

Mr Fraser said while there had been some good falls around the place, it had been a late start to the season in the North.

Mr Fraser said Townsville, Cairns and Innisfail had benefited from heavy rain with Bushland Beach receiving 128mm in the first week of January and Innisfail and Cairns recording over 100mm in the 24 hours to 9am last Friday.

”We’ve had been some good falls back on the ranges inland from Ingham, a few places got over 100mm in seven days, including Valley of Lagoons and Lava Plains, so that’s pretty dry country.”

Mr Fraser said thunderstorms would build in the Gulf Country and western inland parts this week due to inland troughs, though there was no significant monsoonal activity in the Queensland area.

He said north-westerly winds had created hot conditions in the North during the first week of January with temperatures five to six degrees above average in many places.

Innisfail recorded a record high, reaching 41C last Wednesday, above the previous high ot 40.1C recorded in 1994.

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