Welcome to our thirteenth wet season wrap up for Northern Australia where we take a look at Northern Australian towns/cities and go through their previous wet season. In October, we continue our features by speculating at what the early modelling might be showing for the upcoming 2019/2020 wet season for these locations so become a subscriber, show your support and get access to this exclusive information. Today we head to the Central Queensland city of Rockhampton (pop approx 80000)
Rockhampton is an industrial and agricultural centre for Central Queensland. If any region of the state knows the importance of rainfall it's this area. The region has a humid subtropical climate and is located along the Tropic Of Capricorn. The town itself lies a few kilometres inland of the coast and therefore tends to miss out on south-easterly stream showers. However it cops some beautiful thunderstorms during the Spring and Summer months, and averages around 3-4 severe storms a year. The city lies too far south for any significant monsoonal rains and too far north for any significant Winter rain. Occasionally a Tropical Cyclone or the remnants of a Tropical Cyclone will drag down some heavy rainfall and on these years we see above average rainfall over the course of the season. Rainfall here tends to be quite variable and generally unreliable, it is not uncommon to have 3-4 years of below average rain followed by a very wet period.
The 2018/19 wet season was much drier than average with the city receiving just over 50% of the rainfall it should be.
WET SEASON 2018/19 RAINFALL Rockhampton's storm season started in typical fashion with a storm on the 13th October around 2:00PM dumping 10mm of rain. There was a period of unsettled weather at the end of October too but a lot of the storm activity present died before hitting the city. A pretty quiet November followed, but it sure was hot (details further down the page).
If there was to be a highlight of the wet season it was in December. December 4th the city copped 72km/hr winds and a sharp 12mm of rain until the rain gauge malfunctioned. Reports from the city unofficially showed the storm dumped between 50 - 100mm of rain. You can read about the wild storm outbreak here. It brought a record breaking hot period of weather to an end and the rainfall was thoroughly deserved and overdue, however the city could have done without the damage it brought with it. Solid rainfall hit the city on December 16/17 and December 22nd. All up the month was well above average rain wise and the temperatures moderated back to near average.
In January, the remnants of Tropical Cyclone Penny hit the Whitsunday coast and a resulting NE flow helped to drop the only significant rainfall for the month on the city on the 8th and 9th Jan. You can check this out on the radar imagery below.
February was very uneventful, and the only significant piece of weather in March was a very strong thunderstorm that hit the city on March 12th around 5:30PM. The city copped wind gusts to 98 km/hr and 19mm of rain. You can see the line of storms on the radar grab below as they pushed through CQ that evening. There was very little in the way of significant rainfall after this line of storms for the remainder of March and April.
Note December rainfall total in this table is not complete due to a BoM gauge malfunction during a severe storm on December 4 - the likely amount of rain for December is another 50-100mm on top of the measured amount.
TROPICAL CYCLONE IMPACTS
There were no Tropical Cyclone impacts on Rockhampton in season 2018/19
The wet season was hotter than normal in Rockhampton. This was noticeable during a 14 day period at the end of November and the start of December. 12 of those 14 days saw temps more than 5 degrees above average with the hottest being on November 28th with 44.4 degrees officially recorded. The consistency of these hot days in November helped set a new 77 year maximum monthly temp record with the month averaging 33.9 degrees - almost 3 degrees above the monthly average. December was characterized by unsettled and cloudy/stormy days after this hot streak ended and this brought temps back to near average. A dry SE airstream kept conditions a little cooler than normal in January. The heat returned with a vengeance in February, with a hot and dry airstream present most of the month we saw temps rise to average 2.3 degrees above the normal and slightly below the record breaking heat of November. This significant heat continued into March as there was little moisture in the air and the rains stayed away. While both these months were significantly above average, there were no daily extremes like there were in November/early December.
All up this past wet season was much warmer than normal.
There will be no update tomorrow night as we are releasing the Subscriber only Draft Cyclone Outlook.
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