Perth and parts of WA’s Wheatbelt could see more than half their monthly average rainfall over the next two days, with a strong cold front expected to deliver widespread rain to the state.
- Friday’s cold front will bring widespread rainfall to WA
- Forecasters say the front will maintain its strength through inland regions
- Southern WA grain farmers say it will be the ‘icing on the cake’
The winter-like front comes as the eastern states brace through severe storms, with a tornado passing the central west New South Wales on Thursday and more hail and heavy rainfall to come.
Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Luke Huntington said three fronts were expected over the next five days, of which today’s would be the most significant.
“The feature of this one will be that the rainfall will extend right throughout the South West Land Division, even reaching as far north as Coral Bay and pushing out all the way east to the Goldfields and Eucla,” he said.
Mr Huntington said the front was different to the ones that recently impacted WA, which rapidly weakened as they moved inland.
“It’s got a tropical link to the north-west so that will help it maintain its strength as it goes through,” he said.
The heaviest falls were expected close the west coast, south west of Geraldton and Albany, with 15 to 25 millimetres of rain expected on Friday.
But Mr Huntington said inland and northern parts could also expect decent rainfall, between 5mm and 15mm.
A weaker second and third front were expected late on Saturday and late Monday into Tuesday.
A wet start to October
Mr Huntington said it would bring a solid start to October rainfall totals.
“It looks like a pretty good start to October in terms of the rainfall [with] tomorrows front, that will really boost up the average for the month,” he said.
[It will] see some places getting a lot of their October average, 25 to 50 per cent in some areas.”
Perth’s average rainfall for October is 38mm.
Between 22mm and 43mm of rain is forecast for the city over the next week.
However, the latest outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology predicts average to below average rainfall for WA for October for much of the state.
Joy for some farmers, too late for others
For grain growers in the Esperance region, today’s cold front was shaping to be the finishing rain many had hoped for.
Munglinup grain and sheep farmer Gemma Walker said the forecast was exciting.
“We have been thrilled with the season this year, it’s come at all the right times,” she said.
“If we can harvest the potential yield that we have at the moment and the top up we may receive over the weekend we will be very happy.”
There was also hope the rain will go some way to recovering frost-damaged crops.
In late August and early September, WA’s Wheatbelt experienced two extensive frost events, with temperatures dropping below freezing for several hours in grain-growing regions.
September and August also dealt a bad hand on rainfall figures, with several growing regions recording average to below average rainfall the past two months.
Morawa farmer Katrina Sasse said today’s front came too late.
“It would have been nice a month ago, the crops are finishing and we’re looking at harvest in the next couple of weeks,” she said.
But she said despite the dry finish, the season had been wonderful.
“I haven’t seen it this wet and beautiful ever in my life, apart from when I was a very little kid,” she said.
“It’s certainly one to remember after the cyclone got us in with an early start.”
Even with the advent of frost and lack of useful spring rainfall for some, the latest Grains Industry Association of WA crop update estimates a record harvest of 19.3 million tonnes for the state.
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