Carnarvon rains at 39pc

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Lisa FavazzoMidwest Times
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A scrub fire burning on the banks of the Gascoyne River on New Year’s Eve.
Camera IconA scrub fire burning on the banks of the Gascoyne River on New Year’s Eve. Credit: Neil Hatt/Supplied, Neil Hatt

Carnarvon was the second driest place in WA last year, with the town recording a mere 39 per cent of its annual rainfall average in 2020.

It was a bone-dry year for Carnarvon residents, who barely saw a drop of rain as WA suffered through its second-hottest year on record.

On Friday, the Bureau of Meteorology revealed only 86.3mm of rainfall was captured at Carnarvon Airport throughout 2020, which is just 39 per cent of its annual average. The only figure lower elsewhere in WA was Onslow Airport, where 77.4mm of rain was captured.

The dry weather was not an issue for farmers, as river catchments were full from heavy rains upstream.

However, dry and hot weather did contribute to challenging fire conditions.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services Carnarvon area officer Matt Holland said Carnarvon had “a weird relationship with water”, saying droughts both increased and decreased bushfire risks. Mr Holland said less rain meant less ground fuel.

Much of Carnarvon’s infrastructure is built around the Gascoyne River, which flows and promotes growth regardless of rain.

According to Mr Holland, that skinny stretch catches on fire often and presents a risk to neighbouring buildings. He encouraged locals to prepare a plan.

The region overall received about 80 per cent less than its annual averages, with Geraldton the wettest BoM site despite only capturing 332mm of rain, or 75 per cent of its annual average.

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