Front dumps Wheatbelt rain

Trees down and fences were washed away at Quentin Davies’ Yorkrakine property.
Nanjing Night Net

YORKRAKINE has borne the brunt of the latest weather front, which dumped close to 200 millimetres of rain in a six-hour period on Saturday night.

The central and northern Wheatbelt caught most of the falls with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) reporting 149mm in Quairading, 73mm in Three Springs and Dalwallinu, 68mm at Northampton, 60mm at Eurardy and 63mm in Wongan Hills.

However farmers took to social media to record even larger numbers, with 124mm recorded south of Wyalkatchem, 85mm at Moora and 80mm at Pithara.

Yorkrakine farmer and Cardiff stud principal Quentin Davis received 194mm on his property with the majority falling on Saturday night, with a further 20mm on Monday morning.

He said the wild weather brought down trees, took out fences and sheds, with sheep fenced in “by only the water”.

“A cock-eyed bob has come through and taken a few of the sheds out and part of the old homestead at our place, but we’ve tarped that up,” he said.

“There’s plenty of fencing damage and as far as the Shire (of Tammin) is concerned there is substantial damage to the roads with five or six roads closed or impassable and a lot of trees are down.

“It’s not good but I guess something positive will come out of it; all the dams are full and the rain might fill up one of the lakes so we can go skiing,” he joked.

Dennis Reid from Yorkrakine also more than 190mm in the gauge.

“There’s been a fair bit of damage and still assessing what’s happened as we cannot get to a lot of places,” he said.

“I’ve never seen rain like it in the wheatbelt.”

BOM’s Neil Bennett said the wet conditions were a remnant of a tropical low that moved across and north of the Kimberley and Pilbara coast last week.

“A rain band lies roughly from Jurien Bay to Kalgoorlie and extends to around Bunbury and Bremer Bay but that is slowing filling in further to the south and within that zone there is very heavy rain,” Mr Bennett said.

“Over the 24 hours to 9am Monday morning the Central West and Wheatbelt received falls of 40-60mm and the odd one over 100mm, with 107mm in Three Springs being the highest recorded in that period.”

Mr Bennett said the rain had been heavy enough to issue flood warnings for the Irwin and Mid West district.

“There’s a strip on the northern part of that, that has some really heavy stuff with some embedded thunderstorms, which could be severe and bring some flash flooding and strong winds with it,” he said.

The weather is in line with predictions of a wetter than average February in the the south west part of the State, said BOM climate liaison officer Glenn Cook.

He said the north had received one tropical cyclone this season – Cyclone Yvette in December – despite BOM predicting an average to above average number of cyclones.

However, there had been a large number of tropical lows form that had not made it to tropical cyclone strength, he said.

“These lows do the same sort of thing in terms of bringing moisture up into the atmosphere and we see what has occurred over the last day with a cloud band associated with the tropical low in the north west bringing large areas of rain over the south west,” Mr Cook said.

While February was predicted to be wetter than average he said the pattern was expected to reverse in March, which has a 30-40pc probability of being drier than average.

“Overall in the February to April period it is suggesting to be wetter up in the north and this will be mostly influenced by a wetter February month,” he said.

“But for the south west the probabilities are closer to 50:50 with no signal pushing us one way or the other.”

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