10 May 2023

Fact or fiction? What's the wet season really been like?

| Matt Nicholls
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Lockhart River has not received its usual wet season quota but the rest of the Cape has enjoyed a good soak.

THE roads may have been open for a bit longer than last year but that doesn’t mean this wet season has been a dampener – pardon the pun.

In Weipa last week I was approached by three people who asked me about the wet season. All of them were convinced it had been a dry one.

In fact, one woman sent me a message on Facebook, asking if I could do a story on the water tables.

But if you live on the west coast of the Cape you have nothing to worry about.

In fact, there is only one community that should be keeping an eye on the rain gauge.

Lockhart River has recorded just 587mm since October – a year’s worth of rain if you live down south, but dry for that part of the world.

In fact, in April last year, the east coast community had almost that amount in April alone, with more than two metres of rain recorded last wet season.

But for the rest of the region, the wet season has been fairly typical, if not above average when it comes to rainfall.

Considering the season could still drag on for another month or so, the numbers from rain gauges around Cape York are pleasing for the amateur meteorologists out there.

Weipa has passed 1800mm at both the airport and in town and could go past last year’s wet season tally of 2071mm.

The previous wet season figures for Weipa were 1641mm, 1899mm, 1711mm, 1593mm, 1182mm and 1731mm.

In the south-east corner of the Peninsula, Cooktown is also having a solid wet season.

More than a metre of rain has fallen at the airport since October 1 and locals are on track to receive a fairly standard amount for the season.

Excluding the massive 2018-19 wet season, which produced 2448mm of rain, the previous five wet seasons have averaged around 1400mm.

Avid weather watchers believe the wet season is not yet over and that Cape York could be in for another monsoon trough later this month or in early April.

But the lack of major road closures thus far is most likely the cause of people believing this wet season has been drier than previous years.

Most of that can be attributed to Lockhart River. The Archer and Wenlock rivers feed off rainfall in the Iron Range rainforest area.

While locals on the east coast have had more than their fair share of cyclones in the last decade or so, there are some at Portland Roads and Lockhart River who would welcome at least one more big drenching soon.

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