Faulty gauge leaves record high and dry
Katanning is likely to have had one of its driest years to date, however it will not go down in the record books.
Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Yanhui Blockley said the bureau’s Katanning weather station unfortunately had a malfunctioning rain gauge for the first six months of 2018.
“So we wouldn’t be able to provide its annual rainfall total. However, we can take the nearby rainfall site from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (0.6km away) as a reference, which recorded an annual rainfall total of 354.2mm,” he said.
“It was well below the long-term annual average, which is 479.2mm, in 117 years of record at Katanning Comparison, and it was the driest year since 2015, which was also very dry.”
The annual rainfall total at Narrogin was 500.9mm, very close to its long-term average of 493.6mm in 99 years of records. Lake Grace rain gauge recorded no rainfall for both June and July, key months in the growing season.
The annual rainfall totals at Lake Grace were incomplete, however annual rainfall at Lake Grace was estimated between 230mm and 250mm.
The long-term average is 344.5mm in 20 years of records at Lake Grace and likely the driest year since 2010.
The total rainfall at Albany Airport for 2018 was 589.8mm, almost 20mm lower than the previous lowest reading of 606mm in 2014 and more than 200mm lower than the annual average of 798.1mm. Records there date back to 1963.
Albany town site received 701.2mm, with 2015 the driest year recorded, at 620.5mm. Records at the town site date back to 1877.
BoM spokesman Neil Bennett said 2018 had not only been a dry year but a warmer year on average.
“The major reason for low rainfall was the very dry start to the year,” he said.