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#1467429 - 16/07/2018 12:30 Longest time without rain
Surly Bond Offline
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Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
I would like to know about the longest periods without rain, as recorded at rainfall stations.
I have not yet found any such records on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

I know that at my local station, Manilla Post Office, Station 55031, the longest time without 0.2 mm of rain in a day was 62 days from July 18 to September 17, 1946.
https://climatebysurly.com/2016/03/18/no-rain-and-no-rain-gauge/

I have seen the following statement in the "Australian Geographic" issue on "Deserts":
"Australia's one recorded instance of a complete rainless calendar year was in 1924 at a station in Mulyie 100 kilometres east of Port Hedland WA."
Is that authenticated?

I suspect that to have nine months without rain hardly ever occurs anywhere in Australia.
Have many stations in populated areas had even two calendar months without rain? Manilla hasn't - the driest two months had 1.0 mm (March-April 1971). How about you?
https://climatebysurly.com/2018/07/15/short-droughts-are-worst/


Edited by Surly Bond (16/07/2018 12:33)
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#1467431 - 16/07/2018 14:16 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
ozthunder Offline
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Registered: 23/09/2001
Posts: 3184
Loc: Mt Warrigal, NSW, Australia
This will be another whether 'authenticated' issue. But belief is Wollongong has never had a completely dry month. That may have chnaged with the move to the rain shadowed Albion Park.
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#1467432 - 16/07/2018 15:16 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Blair Trewin Offline
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Registered: 13/07/2001
Posts: 3825
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
If "authenticated" means "the result of a search of the database by someone from the Bureau" (namely, yours truly), then that statement is correct. (It's the same year that Marble Bar got its record long streak of days over 100F - essentially a totally failed wet season).

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#1467433 - 16/07/2018 16:17 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Surly Bond Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
Thanks for that verification, Blair.
Could that be the only data item about rainless periods that has ever been extracted from Bureau files?
What is known about the duration of rainless periods in central Queensland, for example? When I hear that some station has not seen rain "for years", I doubt if that could possibly be true.

Re: rainless months:
Manilla has had fourteen of them; about one per decade. That might perhaps be typical west of the Divide.
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#1467440 - 16/07/2018 18:37 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
ozone doug Offline
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Registered: 06/11/2006
Posts: 1863
Loc: Roma SW QLD Eye to the West...
Roma had no rain for January 2018. Haven't checked further yet.
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#1467448 - 16/07/2018 20:55 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Surly Bond Offline
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Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
Hi Doug
Do you think it may have happened often?

The lowest rainfall ever observed for groups of months decreases as the number of months is reduced.
Then we run into the zero effect: the minimum rainfall figure cannot fall below zero, no matter whether the zero reading occurs just once or many times.
The same effect could apply to 2-month totals, but at my site the 2-month total has not been zero even once (yet).
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#1467455 - 17/07/2018 06:21 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Blair Trewin Offline
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Registered: 13/07/2001
Posts: 3825
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
It was a bit of a standing joke between myself and a (now-retired) journalist I dealt with regularly - she'd say her editor had asked her to find a three-year-old who'd never seen rain. I've occasionally said something to my colleagues to the effect that if someone could find a three-year-old who'd never seen rain I'd be getting their eyesight tested (but I've only used that line once in front of a microphone).

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#1467479 - 17/07/2018 14:27 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Rigger Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 15/11/2008
Posts: 131
Loc: Leanyer,NT (suburb of Darwin)
Last year ( 2017 ) Darwin recorded 5 full calendar months without rain May-September. And as if it was following the script, the first rain for the 'Wet' fell on the 1st Oct.
Whilst Darwin has the seasonal 'drought', and sometimes we go 2 or 3 months rainless, I think last year was a record dry period, at least for the Airport site ( 1942 )


Edited by Rigger (17/07/2018 14:28)
Edit Reason: spelling error

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#1467490 - 17/07/2018 16:25 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Surly Bond Offline
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Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
Hi Rigger

For comparison, can you say how many consecutive rainless days you had at Darwin in 2017?
It would be interesting to know whether it actually is the record number. If not, when was the actual record set?

At Manilla, dry months come mainly in April and August, between the summer rains and the winter rains.

I wonder if stations within the westerly belt tend to have their driest periods in summer?


Edited by Surly Bond (17/07/2018 16:26)
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#1467492 - 17/07/2018 16:37 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Surly Bond Offline
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Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
A child, at the time of its third birthday would not have factual memories that extend back three years, but much less.
At what age could the memory be formed: "The sky does not include falling water."?
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#1467495 - 17/07/2018 17:26 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Rigger Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 15/11/2008
Posts: 131
Loc: Leanyer,NT (suburb of Darwin)
[quote=Surly Bond]Hi Rigger

For comparison, can you say how many consecutive rainless days you had at Darwin in 2017?
It would be interesting to know whether it actually is the record number. If not, when was the actual record set?

Last year was 155 days between recorded rain at the Airport Site
28/4/17 - 3.4mm.
1/10/17 - 5.6mm.
I believe this was a record dry spell for the site.
I haven't checked the old Post Office site stats yet. Possible this spell has been exceeded at the old site. Blair might know ?

As an aside this 'Dry' has also been quite dry.... the rain stopped at my northern suburbs site on 20th April and I have recorded zilch since. The Airport received 0.8mm on 20/4 and 0.2mm on 14/6. Nothing since. And yes my last water bill was horrendous....

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#1467604 - 19/07/2018 19:15 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Rigger Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 15/11/2008
Posts: 131
Loc: Leanyer,NT (suburb of Darwin)
A 214 day run without rain at the Darwin Post Office site in 1896..... must have been horrendous !
!896 was a year of extreme heatwave conditions in Southern Australia...WA, SA, NSW and Vic. Possibly on par with Jan 1939 if the old non standard instrumentation is believed.

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#1467673 - 21/07/2018 13:07 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Surly Bond Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
It is good to have that data item, Rigger: 214 rainless days at Darwin PO in 1896.

I am thinking of checking through the rainless periods longer than three calendar months at an inland monsoonal site. Ayrshire Downs, near Winton, QLD (Station 37001) has an almost unbroken record from 1887. At that site, the rainless period in the year 1896 was just over two months. I would expect its maximum rainless period to rival that of Darwin.

I wonder if there is a pattern that the maximum rainless period in century-long records gets shorter with increasing latitude?
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#1467674 - 21/07/2018 13:17 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Surly Bond Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
On a hunch, I checked the Ayrshire Downs (Station 37001) record for 1946. That year there was no rain between March 1st and November 17th: 260 rainless days by my count. That may not be the record for the site.


Edited by Surly Bond (21/07/2018 13:18)
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#1467690 - 21/07/2018 22:14 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Rigger Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 15/11/2008
Posts: 131
Loc: Leanyer,NT (suburb of Darwin)
1946 must have been a dreadful dry run in the north central tropics. Newcastle Waters in the NT a 265 day run without rain.

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#1467692 - 22/07/2018 03:59 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Blair Trewin Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 13/07/2001
Posts: 3825
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
I'm currently overseas so not in a position to go through stats as I usually can.

With the 1896 summer, one of my colleagues went through an analysis of January 1896 for southeast Australia after correcting for instrument exposure (something which has a lot of uncertainty that far back). The conclusion from this was that it would rank amongst the 10 hottest Januarys of the post-1910 era, but probably not in the top 3. It's best known for the large numbers of deaths reported at Bourke, a product of an unprepared population (there had been a run of relatively mild summers) and the lack of access to any sort of cooling. Bourke is known to have been reading about 4 degrees high on average (and possibly more in extremes) in that era; if you adjust the nominal 13 days over 45 to 13 days over 41, that would still equal the post-1910 record there.

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#1467885 - 27/07/2018 11:34 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Surly Bond Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
Few people seem interested in contributing data here.
I would like to know whether there have been any rainless months at all in southern districts.

As a crude check, I looked at the record for Ballarat aerodrome (089002) through 2000 to 2011, when it was in the middle of the area hit by the great Millennium Drought.
At Ballarat, not a single month was without rain there in that time. I am not sure if there was even a fortnight without rain.
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#1467891 - 27/07/2018 13:53 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Rigger Offline
Weather Freak

Registered: 15/11/2008
Posts: 131
Loc: Leanyer,NT (suburb of Darwin)
Feb 1991 was a rainless month for much of the Victorian Wimmera district. Many of the small towns out that way have extensive rainfall records dating back to the 1870's. 1902 was a severe drought year for Horsham and other towns nearby. Longerenong recorded a rainless month in April 1902.
My father was a student at the Ag College at Longerenong 1948-1950 and well understood the Dorothea Mackellar description of the Wimmera climate.

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#1467895 - 27/07/2018 18:29 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
LightningGus Offline
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Registered: 12/05/2012
Posts: 1208
Loc: Kingaroy QLD 434m ASL
84 days from May 3rd to July 25th 1946 is the longest time I can find for my location.

55 days without rain from August 8th until October 1st last year is probably the longest in recent years and September 2017 was our first completely rainless month since August 1991 (56 day dry spell).

47 days from June 26 to August 11 1977 was also impressive but was part of an even more impressive dry spell with 185 days with no single rain fall of more than 10mm.
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#1468044 - 31/07/2018 18:47 Re: Longest time without rain [Re: Surly Bond]
Surly Bond Offline
Weatherzone Addict

Registered: 23/08/2003
Posts: 2137
Loc: Manilla, near Tamworth NSW
The number of consecutive days without rain does not accurately reflect the severity of a drought.
Two years ago, we had a period of 43 days without rain from 4 February to 19 March 2016, but that time was not a drought. There was plentiful rain just before the rainless time and just after it.
The current drought is already an extreme 5-month drought, but the longest rainless period in it so far was only 39 days from 20 April to 30 May 2018.
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