Adelaide has recorded its driest year in more than a decade due to severely below-average rainfall, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says.
- Adelaide’s temperature record was broken in December, when the city reached 45.3C
- A severe below-average rainfall saw the city record 358 millimetres of rain, 170mm less than the long-term average
- The city’s driest year was 1967, with 257.8mm recorded
In 2019, the city’s rain gauge recorded exactly 358 millimetres — 170.3mm less than the long-term average of 528.3mm.
The BOM said the 2019 figure was the lowest since 2006 and among the lowest on record.
Senior forecaster Tom Boeck said while data was still being analysed, the trend was likely to be replicated across the state.
BOM tweet: Cumulative rainfall of 358.0 mm in #Adelaide for year 2019 is well below the long term average 528.3 mm. Actually it is in the lowest decile – Decile 1 rainfall is 390.4 mm.
“It’s likely to be one of the driest years for South Australia as a whole,” he said.
“Possibly over northern parts of the state, the Northern Pastoral districts — it’s likely to be the driest on record.”
Adelaide’s driest recorded year was 1967, with only 257.8mm falling over the 365 days.
The city set a new benchmark for its hottest recorded temperature on January 24 last year, reaching 46.6 degrees Celsius.
A record for the month of December was set less than a fortnight ago amid an extreme heatwave, with the mercury climbing to 45.3C in the city.
“We certainly started off very hot and finished off very hot as well,” Mr Boeck said.
During that heatwave — which triggered the deadly Cudlee Creek bushfire — temperature records tumbled across parts of southern Australia.
The nation as a whole set a new record for its hottest-ever day, with the national average maximum temperature reaching 41.9C two weeks ago.
Mr Boeck said the extreme heat towards the end to the year could have secured another unwanted milestone for 2019.
“As far as Australia goes as a whole, it’s looking like it’s going to be the warmest year on record,” he said.
Roads started to bleed in Port Augusta during recent extreme heat. (Facebook: Port Augusta City Council)