Summer of 2011 wettest on record

MORE rain has fallen this summer than in any other year since the Bureau of Meteorology’s Amberley weather station opened in 1941.

Our incredibly wet summer even surpassed the summer rainfall levels recorded in 1974, despite January of that year receiving a recording-breaking 635.2mm.

The total for this year’s summer so far is 824.8mm – 365.2mm in December 2010, 319mm in January 2011 and 140.6mm for February.

While the rainfall might have taken many Ipswich residents by surprise, meteorologist Tom Saunders said an extremely wet summer had been forecast due to the strong La Nina season.

He said the resulting summer in Ipswich was the wettest on record.

“It beats everything else – the nearest is 1974,” The Weather Channel meteorologist said.

“It’s been a huge 12 months for the whole country.”

Mr Saunders said forecasters could not predict when the next big wet caused by a La Nina system would be.

“It could be next year, it could be in the next 100 years,” he said.

“The current La Nina will return to average for the next few months.

“From there it will go to neutral conditions through winter.”

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s recent rainfall tables, there have been some impressive falls in other rain gauges around Ipswich.

The Wivenhoe Dam recorded 790.6mm in the past three months, while Rosevale had 974mm, Somerset Dam 911.9mm, Lowood 920mm and Cunningham’s Gap National Park 1192.4mm.

North of Ipswich, the summer rain was even heavier, with Maleny, inland from the Sunshine Coast, recording more than 1800mm, still less than the 1974 total of 2038.5mm.

The heavy rainfall extended across much of the state, with three tropical cyclones producing large rainfall totals and flooding.

Tropical cyclone Tasha crossed the Queensland coast south of Cairns early on Christmas morning as a category-one system before weakening into a rain depression.

Only a few weeks later flash flooding tore through Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley on Monday January 10, after about 100mm of rain fell on the already saturated catchment of the Lockyer River in an hour. Ipswich and then Brisbane flooded in the days following.

The BOM predicts chances of afternoon showers this weekend, while Monday will be fine.

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