Rainfall reaches record highs

Pierra Willix and Chloe FraserBusselton Dunsborough Times

Busselton and Margaret River smashed their monthly rainfall records over the course of just two days this week as uncharacteristic wild weather lashed the Capes.

The remnants of tropical cyclone Joyce was felt across the State, with Busselton experiencing more than double the typical rainfall for the month and Margaret River topping its monthly average by about 1mm in one day.

Some made light of the wet weather, with several of Mandalay Holiday Resort’s young guests taking to the park’s flooded oval for a modified version of skurfing — traditionally a combination of skiing and surfing, but in this case, skating and surfing.

But not all was fun and games, with the Busselton State Emergency Service dealing with three call-outs over the two days — all three involving water damage.

Bureau of Meteorology senior climatologist Glenn Cook said the weather was the result of a cloud band developing over WA and tracking southward parallel to the coast. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services issued a severe weather warning for the South West on Tuesday morning; however, this was downgraded by the afternoon.

Flood warnings were also issued for rivers but were cancelled mid-day Wednesday. This week’s wild weather was preceded by heavier-than-average rains across the Capes during December, which saw Margaret River and Cowaramup record their wettest December for at least 20 years.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s monthly climate summary showed Cowaramup’s December rain reach 50.6mm, and Margaret River’s 63.4mm, up from the monthly averages of 19.0mm and 19.8mm.

Meanwhile, Busselton also recorded higher-than-average rainfall in December, with 35.8mm recorded at Busselton Aero Club, up from the average of 10.3mm.

WA’s strongest December wind gust was 106km/h, recorded at Cape Leeuwin on December 17.

The bureau is forecasting a relatively warm and dry start to the year, with Busselton’s maximum median temperature expected to reach 25.7C from February-April.

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