Dry year nudges record

Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
A cleaned out dam at Lake Grace farmer Geoff Richardson's Mallee Hill property.
Camera IconA cleaned out dam at Lake Grace farmer Geoff Richardson's Mallee Hill property. Credit: Cally Dupe/Cally Dupe

Albany has recorded its fourth-lowest annual rainfall total in 141 years of records.

The 648.7mm that fell in 2019 puts it behind 2015 (620.5mm), 1972 (628.5mm) and 1881 (636.8mm).

May, 2019 was the driest May on record, with the Albany weather station receiving only 31mm of rain, breaking the pre-vious low mark of 35.8mm in 1996.

May also brought cold nights to parts of the Great Southern.

Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Yanhui Blockley said further north in the region, Katanning had its coldest May to date, with a mean minimum temperature of 6.5C.

“Narrogin's mean minimum temperature of 5.2C was more than 2C cooler than the May average, and the second-coldest May on record, behind 4.0C in May 1968,” she said. Lake Grace and Newdegate had their warmest years in 21 years of records, finishing with mean maximum temperatures of 24.8C and 24.7C respectively.

Those two towns were also particularly dry, recording just 57 per cent of their average annual rainfall in a year when six water deficiencies were declared in the south of WA.

Albany maintained its status as the coolest place in WA, with its average maximum of 19.9C the lowest among the bureau’s weather stations. The coldest day of the year in Albany was September 6, when the temperature dropped to 4C in the city and 1.6C at the Albany Airport.

That coincided with a widespread frost event throughout the Great Southern and the south-east coastal regions on September 5 and 6.

Statewide, 2019 was the warmest and second-driest year on record.

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