City’s driest year on record

Headshot of Shannon Smith
Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
Museum of the Great Southern's acting regional manager Catherine Salmaggi at their weather station.
Camera IconMuseum of the Great Southern's acting regional manager Catherine Salmaggi at their weather station. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Albany Airport has received its lowest-ever recorded annual rainfall total.

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. The site’s rainfall records date back as far as 1963. The Albany town site finished at 701.2mm, with 2015 the driest year recorded when just 620.5mm fell.

Records at the town site date back to 1877. The Bureau of Meteorology 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. “Very few rain systems got into the area until early June. This was because of the position of the high that dominates WA weather for much of the year. “It was slow to move north from March to June, resulting in the very dry conditions from April and May. We then had a couple of months of good rainfall followed by a dry September.” Major weather events to hit Albany last year included the strong winds ahead of a cold front that coincided with the bushfires in May. Very dry conditions in the area from January to June were also the driest on record. The Bureau forecast a dry start to 2019 for Albany with the next three months likely to have below-average rainfall and temperatures.

The Albany townsite recordings are taken from the Museum of the Great Southern on Residency Road at 9am daily, which are entered directly into BOM. Acting regional manager Catherine Salmaggi said they also recorded the readings and kept a file of the data sent. “The two weather stations for Albany are us and the airport; on any one day the readings can be vastly different ... the rainfall total for December 2018 was 22.4mm. For the same period (in December 2017), it was 48.3mm,” she said.

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