Scorch­ing April heat sets records for Pil­bara

Pilbara News - - Front Page - Tom Zaun­mayr

Record April tem­per­a­tures and very low rain­fall have caused the in­creas­ingly dusty Pil­bara land­scape to crack.

Of­fi­cial fig­ures were yet to be re­leased by the Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy at the time of print, but av­er­age tem­per­a­tures for April seem to have tipped 36.8C at Kar­ratha Aero, mak­ing it the hottest April since records be­gan in 1993.

The story is sim­i­lar along the coast. Ex­mouth and Onslow are both likely to have bro­ken new ground with mean tem­per­a­tures more than 0.4C and 1C above their pre­vi­ous records re­spec­tively.

In­land, Mar­ble Bar’s likely av­er­age April tem­per­a­ture of 39.4C wrote a new record for the no­to­ri­ously hot town for the sec­ond month in a row.

Parabur­doo Aero broke its daily April heat record of 40.4C four days in a row, record­ing 41.1, 41.4, 41.4 and 41.6 from April 2 to 5. Mar­ble Bar hit new highs three times in the same pe­riod.

Port Hed­land Aero (42.5), Telfer Aero (42.3), Roe­bourne Aero (42.2), Wit­tenoom (42), Lear­month (41.8) and New­man aero (40.9) all notched up new daily heat records

in April as well. Over­all heat records for the Pil­bara wet sea­son were mostly left un­touched how­ever, be­cause of a cooler than av­er­age end to 2015.

When it comes to rain, Kar­ratha Aero recorded just 14.6mm be­tween Novem­ber and April.

In 45 years of record-keep­ing, only three wet sea­sons have been drier; 2009/10, 2001/02 and 1982/83.

Most of the coast be­tween Hed­land and Ex­mouth re­ceived less than 20 per cent of its av­er­age rain­fall, with many in­land ar­eas at least 40 per cent drier than usual as well.

Depart­ment of Parks and Wildlife Kar­i­jini Na­tional Park ranger Dan Petersen said be­low-av­er­age rain­fall had led to Weano Gorge run­ning dry for the first time in his five-year ten­ure at the park.

“Li­ais­ing with longer-term staff and tra­di­tional own­ers, they com­mented on see­ing it dry a cou­ple of times many years ago but it’s not a com­mon oc­cur­rence,” he said.

“Due to lack of sea­sonal rain­fall, wa­ter has be­come stag­nant at Weano, so we ad­vise (peo­ple) not to swim in it.

“Hav­ing low rain­fall through­out wet sea­son, I dare say it will have some slight im­pact on the abun­dance of wild­flow­ers.”

Mr Peter­son said other gorges in the park were still rel­a­tively healthy and fuel loads were man­age­able.

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