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Anticipated Rain Set to Relieve Dry Conditions in WA This Week

Throughout Western Australia, farmers have been battling against record-breaking drought conditions that have gripped the region. Over the past year, the southwest in particular has endured exceptionally hot and dry conditions, leading to dire situations for agriculture and livestock. These conditions have intensified the strain on water supplies and increased the demand for more robust, predictive weather solutions which help businesses and communities understand and adapt to these changing weather patterns.

A dirt road from left to right across the picture, and a tree in the middle with lots of yellow grass.

A Wheatbelt perspective taken in January, showing the dryness of the region (ABC News: David Weber)

The good news this week is that rain is on its way for wares of southwestern WA. Rain which is driven by a deepening trough of low pressure is expected to arrive in the Gascoyne region on Monday afternoon, accompanied by thunderstorms. This weather pattern will then move to the Central West, Lower West, and Central Wheatbelt regions by Tuesday. 

A deepening trough of low pressure is set to increase shower and storm activity, potentially delivering moderate rainfall north and northwest of Perth. Such rainfall, while modest, is critical. It marks a significant shift from the relentless dry spell that has resulted in the driest eight months on record for Perth and Bunbury.

Forecast models predict that these rains will extend into the latter part of the week, with a cold front enhancing rainfall potential and possibly delivering up to 20mm in coastal and inland regions. These showers are not expected to break the drought but are a welcomed start towards moisture recovery.


Climatics Background (5)

Image: predicted rainfall totals for 9am-9am on 2 & 3 May. Supplied by EWN & Metcentre


While rainfall of this nature may not seem like much, rainfall deciles for southwestern WA were at their lowest on record in the three months from January 1 to March 31, 2024. This anomaly continued a disturbing trend for WA, doubling down on the previous 12 months' worth of rainfall that was well below average.

Our Climatics platform provides a detailed retrospective view of weather events and patterns. Historical data underscores the current anomalies and not only highlights the severity of the situation but also aids in understanding the regional impacts on agriculture and groundwater levels.

2-1Image: Climatics data showing the trend in frequency of extreme drought events through Western Australia

As noted in the WA Today article by Aaron Bunch, WA Farmers livestock president Geoff Pearson says the state of the ongoing drought is now critical, and has forced many farmers to de-stock their properties amid soaring feed costs and plummeting livestock prices. The pressure on the agricultural sector is immense, with significant implications for both farm sustainability and food security.

The WA state government has responded with financial support measures, yet the overarching sentiment within the farming community remains one of caution and concern for the future.

Much of WA relies heavily on groundwater, and continued falling rainfall means that the recharge of the groundwater has fallen – by up to 70 per cent over the last 50 years. The record dry spells have also led to a sharp increase in water demand, outstripping what had been anticipated by state planners. WA's reliance on desalination has grown, highlighting a shift towards diversifying water supply sources to ensure sustainability. 

While the forecasted rain will not end the drought, it will be a welcome sight for those WA residents lucky enough to experience it. For our part, Early Warning Network remains committed to enhancing our services and supporting WA's communities and businesses through advanced weather forecasting and real-time data analysis. 


How are we helping? 

Custom Forecasting: EWN provides tailored forecasting services that enable farmers and businesses to anticipate weather events more accurately. Understanding when rain might occur helps in planning agricultural activities, such as planting and irrigation, and in managing resources more efficiently.

Real-Time Weather Tracking: Our EWN GIS Platform offers real-time tracking of weather conditions, allowing users to monitor storm developments and rainfall events as they happen. This tool is invaluable for emergency preparedness and operational planning, particularly in regions susceptible to sudden weather changes.

Historical Climate Data: The Climatics platform is an invaluable tool, providing a foundation of long-term weather trends and extreme event frequencies for groups such as environmental consultants who are tasked with assisting farmers and landowners to anticipate challenges associated with a changing climate and adapt their strategies, ensuring the longevity and productivity of their operations in an evolving environment. 

If you or your team would like any further information about how EWN can help you with our suite of weather and climate products, please reach out to our team and we'll be happy to work with you on a custom solution. 



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