No relief in sight after rainless summer on the Gold Coast

Summer - Gold Coast - Liquid Boulevard - 2013

The Gold Coast’s driest start to summer on record. Just 104mm of 481mm recorded from December to February. PICTURE: Liquid Boulevard

IT’S the last day of summer and instead of praying for the rain to stop at this time of the year, Gold Coasters are praying for the rain to fall.

The Gold Coast has recorded only 104.2mm of rainfall this summer, falling well below the long term average of 481.7mm.


In fact, it was the driest start to the season in more than 19 years.

Just 20.8mm of rain was recorded in December last year, more than 120mm short of the December average. It was the driest December on record.

There was no relief in January, with just 59.8mm falling, also well short of the long term January average of 140.6mm.

February was almost as dry as December, and those who were praying for a late start to the summer rain are still praying today.

By 9pm last night, just 23.6mm had fallen over the last month, dramatically lower than the long term February average of 193.1mm.

Sky News Meteorologist Tom Saunders said forecasters were incapable of predicting the end of the current drought conditions.

“Most extended dry periods over eastern Australia are related to an El Niño event through the Pacific, but the current drought is set with a backdrop of neutral Pacific indicators,” Mr Saunders said.

“This uncertainty combined with the prospects of an El Niño developing midyear makes predicting the end of the drought futile.”

The drier conditions come after the Gold Coast experienced consecutive years of flooding rains influenced by a La Niña event.

Cloudy conditions are forecast to round off the season today, with forecasters predicting scattered showers and an 80 per cent chance of up to 6mm falling in the gauge.

Top temperatures around 30 degrees are expected before an overnight low of 20.

Partly cloudy conditions tipped for the weekend, with scattered showers and top temperatures of around 28-30 degrees.

Unfortunately, there is no significant rainfall forecast in the outlook period. Top temperatures of around 28 degrees and overnight temps of 20 degrees are forecast for each day of next week. A light shower or two is also possible on each day.

El Niño events, the negative phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, refers to the extensive warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific and are often associated with an increased probability of drought conditions.

La Niña events, the opposite of El Niño, refers to the extensive cooling of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean and are associated with increased probability of wetter conditions over much of Australia.