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Western Australia records second-warmest October and driest month in 40 years

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According to data provided by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), Western Australia has registered its second-warmest October on record and the driest in 40 years, despite the cool air delivering gusty showers to southwestern parts of the state during the last week of October 2019. The blistering heat in the north and east areas drove the near-record October heat, while capital Perth saw the hottest October day on the 27th, breaking a six-year record.

Rainfall was below average particularly through the state's west and south portions.

According to BOM's spokesman Neil Bennett, "The main areas of heat were up through our north where the lack of cloud and the time of year means that we do start to see temperatures picking up."

He added, "The driver was our north and any time the winds started swinging out of there then the rest of the state started to warm up, and we had a long run of very warm days through the Goldfields area."

The Goldfields towns of Laverton, Leinster and Norseman sweltered through their hottest October day on record on the 10th, all reaching above or up to a smoldering 40 °C (104 °F).

Meanwhile, several towns through northern and central WA including Wiluna, Port Hedland, Meekathara, Telfer, and Newman achieved their hottest October on record.

The heat came on Western Australia's heels, posting its hottest September ever. There was also a lack of rainfall, resulting in the state's driest October since 1979.

"Monthly rainfall was below average, especially through the west and the south," Bennett said. It was the state's 10th driest October on record and the driest in 40 years."

Perth experienced a blistering temperature above 30 °C (86 °F) during October. Overall, the city saw a relatively mild month. However, the rainfall statistics for Perth were not as clear after BOM was forced to estimate the figures on October 5 due to a so-called blockage in the city's official rain gauge in Mount Lawley.

The blockage was picked up following a low-pressure system of the west coast that delivered falls in the double figures to metropolitan areas. Perth gauge only recorded 1.8 mm (0.07 inches) of rainfall.

"The Mount Lawley gauge was noticeably lower than all of the other gauges that we saw," Bennett stated. "We went to have a look at that because it raised our suspicions and we found that there had been a slight blockage in the gauge itself. This can sometimes happen, where bits of material get blown in by the strong winds– the hole itself within the gauge where the rainfall goes is quite small, so it's not all that unusual to have these blockages."

An estimated total of 27.8 mm (1.09 inches) made it Perth's driest October since 2015.

"But the year to date total which is from the first of January to the end of October of 571.4 mm (22.5 inches), that's the driest year-to-date in seven years, so we're in a pretty dry spell at the moment," Bennett explained.

Featured image credit: @harrycunningham1/Unsplash 

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