Coastal stations see barely a drop
The Pilbara coast is in the grip of one of its driest starts to monsoon season, with barely a drop of rain registering in coastal stations to date.
It is just the fifth time less than one millimetre of rain has fallen between November 1 and January 25 at the Karratha Aero station since records began in 1972.
Just 0.4mm has fallen in Karratha, the lowest since 2001-02 when just 0.2mm was recorded by the end of January.
For Pyramid Station manager Glen Connell the dry spell has been prolonged. He missed out on much of the late-season rain which went south of Karratha last year.
“We had 4.4mm at the house and it sprinkled out the back country the other day, so there’s one section of creek that’s running,” he said.
“Last year, as far as I can remember, was a pretty bad year for us. For me, last summer was the driest one we ever had.
“Our catchment is up there in the Chichester Range, east of Python Pool. It does get a lot of storms up there but unless the river flows, we tend to not get much our way.”
Mr Connell said he remained optimistic of a decent fall in the second half of the wet season.
Onslow and Port Hedland are yet to record any rain, while Roebourne Aero has registered only 1mm and Learmonth airport just 0.6mm
Inland, Newman and Paraburdoo are both closing in on their January averages after having slightly above average November falls and a dry December.
Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Neil Bennett said there was little hope for significant rains until the end of the month.
“We are seeing much warmer than normal Indian ocean temperatures so there is a possibility if we do get a system that originates over that warm area you could jump to the conclusion that it could bring some heavy rainfall,” he said.
“That being the case, we wouldn’t see any reason there wouldn’t be a return to normal rainfall for Karratha in February-March.”
It is the second dry start to the wet season in a row, after only 2mm was recorded by the end of January last year.
Summer storms around the Pilbara coast have failed to bring any significant rains to date.