Rainfall is critically important to our region, it affects every aspect of our environment, our economy and our wellbeing.
It affects our regional economy both for those on the land and also for those within our towns.
Extended periods of below-average rainfall take its toll on us.
Drought is tough.
And when it does rain, we typically need to wait until the roads dry up and become passable.
Rainfall has a tremendously strong impact on the Longreach region and all of outback Australia.
Let us look at our historical and recent rainfall.
Let us use the Longreach airport as an example.
Data has been collected at the airport since the early 1950’s providing us with 70 years of historical data.
It is noted that rainfall can vary greatly within our region and the specific rainfall at different locations will vary.
But nonetheless, the airport rainfall data does provide some interesting insight.
The average annual rainfall for Longreach is 420mm.
We note that this is close to the annual Australian rainfall of 416mm.
In most years the annual rainfall is between 220 and 460mm.
About half of the annual rainfalls in the 70-year history fall within this range.
We are emerging from a tough period of low rainfall.
The average annual rainfall for the last ten years is 308mm, with four of these years having an annual rainfall of less than half our annual average.
It is noted that 2020 with 372mm and 2021 with 312mm are still both below our annual average rainfall.
However, 2022 is promising to be different.
By the end of June, the airport had already received 353mm.
If we use the typical monthly distribution of rainfall, we should expect the annual 2022 rainfall at the airport to be 535mm.
This is well above our monthly average.
Bring on the rain!