Return of the Winter Sun!

The Kimberley

“…Fours seasons in one day…”
“… To change your mind as often as the weather…”
“There is no season such delight can bring, as summer, autumn, winter and the spring.” (William Browne)
“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.”
“The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
(Mark Twain, attributed)

The weather is such a huge part of all our lives whether we like it or not. Up here in the Kimberley region, there is just no denying it!! To say the weather is unpredictable has been the hugest of understatements this year in Australia’s North West. Nowadays many would blame it on climate change, others would just blame it on the weather being the weather.

The Kimberley has a tropical climate with hot and humid summers and warm winters. There are two distinct seasons: the ‘wet’ usually from December to March and the ‘dry’ for the remainder of the year. From October to April (Wet Season) maximum temperatures average over 33°C with plenty of huimidity that is synonymous with the Tropics. By contrast the Dry Season (winter) is mild, with July average maximum and minimum temperatures being 26.9°C and 12.0°C respectively. Overnight temperatures rarely fall below 5.0°C and only fall below 10°C about once a week during July on average.

It is not uncommon for very little rain to occur for months on end but we do not generally expect it to be dry during the ‘Wet’ months and wet during the ‘Dry’ months as the median rainfall for the months of July to October is actually zero. But not this year!!

On average, over 75 % of the annual rain falls from January to March associated with the inclement weather that the region experiences during these early months. However this year, Broome experienced a meagre 6.4mm of rainfall in February! Wyndham experienced just 43mm in March which made us all a little worried about how well those waterfalls would have been flowing. However, April brought a further 92.4mm of rain to Wyndham whilst other areas of the coast experienced hundreds of millimetres of rain in May (Kuri Bay 274.7mm) – tours were interrupted, National Parks were closed – it was as if Mother Nature through the region into chaos. Nothing like a good Kimberley adventure!!

Wyndham and Broome experienced 76.6mm and 26.4mm of rain respectively in May which was quite a shock to the system after such a dry end to the Wet Season but we all did a big high 5 for the waterfalls knowing what rain was falling on the coast and here in Broome, we breathed a sigh of relief for the abrupt end to the long hot days of February and March!!

So here in Broome, just when we thought we had seen the back of the wet weather, and families rejoiced for the school holidays, Mother Nature had its revenge on parents here in Broome by sending us more than 100mm of rain by day 10 of the month!! I am sure the indoor movie theatre and accommodations were most surprised (and I daresay thankful) for the unexpected rush after the heavens opened.

But as I sit at my desk on a Tuesday afternoon, even though grateful for the rain, I am glad to see a return to what we know best this time of year, blue skies and sunshine!! The winter sun has found its way back, the races are back on and the waterfalls are topped up leaving us a lush green region to explore and enjoy. I am sure those in the Southern parts of WA and the Eastern States would give anything right now for a little Winter Sun!!

If you are planning a visit to the North West, the Staircase to the Moon happens each month between March and October. It take splace on a low spring tide and as the moon rises over Roebuck Bay, its reflection on the exposed mudflats gives the illusion of a ‘staircase to the moon’. It is quite a sight to see.