Del­uge dumps two me­tres in one month

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - RICHARD KOSER

THE wet trop­ics cer­tainly lived up to its ti­tle in Fe­bru­ary, with sev­eral weather sta­tions around the Dou­glas re­gion reg­is­ter­ing record to­tals for the month.

The wettest spot in the re­gion for Fe­bru­ary ap­pears to have been the Whyan­beel val­ley, where one res­i­dent recorded 2330mm of rain for Fe­bru­ary, more than half the an­nual rain­fall.

“It’s wet,” Bill Mc­Carthy said, “but its not the wettest I’ve seen.

“In 1996 we had 44 inches, or 1100mm, in 48 hours.”

The south Moss­man weather sta­tion cracked a record for Fe­bru­ary, reg­is­ter­ing 1191.8mm of rain, nearly 20 per cent higher than the pre­vi­ous record of 1005mm in 2004 (a leap year).

This is only the third time in the sta­tion’s 103 years that it has recorded more than 1000mm of rain in Fe­bru­ary.

The weather sta­tion at Dain­tree vil­lage also reg­is­tered a record wet Fe­bru­ary, just shy of 1.5m of rain in 28 days.

The tally of 1434mm came af­ter the wettest calendar year since the Dain­tree vil­lage started record­ing weather data in 1972.

The Bu­reau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy’s fore­caster Ben Suter said the re­sults hadn’t been con­firmed yet, but agreed it was very likely the records would stand.

“We gen­er­ally see above-av­er­age rain­fall dur­ing a La Nina pe­riod, as we’ve been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing since mid last year,” Mr Suter said.

“This is one of the strong­est La Nina events we’ve seen in a long time, so all the fore­cast mod­els would sug­gest we’d have heav­ier rain and more cy­clonic ac­tiv­ity at a time like this.”

Mr Suter said a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors had con­trib­uted to the huge rain­falls at the end of the month.

“It started with a south-easterly surge which gave us a lot of rain,” he said.

“That com­bined with the mon­soon trough com­ing south to keep the rain go­ing.

“Then a low formed on the mon­soon trough, which meant even more heavy falls.”

Don’t ex­pect it to dry out any time soon, ei­ther.

The BoM fore­casts more rain for the next few days, and there are still two months of the wet sea­son to go.

With La Nina per­sist­ing, above-av­er­age rain­fall can be ex­pected to hang around.

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