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Kimberley News: the season so far, the unpredictable weather, trip reports
August 18, 2016
18 August 2016, Issue #048
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In this issue:
I would have liked to send this out a LOT sooner, however, a nasty flu put me out of order for weeks.
Then I had some other trouble, not the kind of trouble I wish on anyone with an online business.
The result is that I am now writing to you from a brand new computer :-)
Gotta look at the bright side, right?
Weather, Climate, Seasons
It's mid August already, which means the peak of the peak season is about over.
It's been an unusual season so far, with things very dry on the one hand due to the below average rain falls during the wet season.
Bushfires have become a problem earlier than usual, there is a lot of smoke around and Purnululu temporarily closed due to fires on August 11.
(See the DPAW alerts page for the current status and info.
As always, the page is also listed and linked in the Appendix of Destination Kimberley. You also find phone numbers there if you want to talk to DPAW staff about the outlook.)
On the other hand travellers had to deal with unexpected rains and road closures not once but twice this dry season!
While rain in mid May is very rare and not exactly expected, it's also not a paradigm shifting event. After all, the wet season just ended. Or at least should have.
But enough rain in July to warrant road closures, now that sure is highly unusual!
In the climate and weather section of Destination Kimberley I mention a few such unusual events.
If you read it carefully, and keep in mind that the first edition of this guide was published in 2008, then you can see how I have been adding to the list over the years.
Here is the excerpt:
The dry season is dry. Blue skies and wonderful temperatures are guaranteed every day. At least that's what we all knew and that's what the tourists knew who were out and about along the Gibb River Road, on the Mitchell Plateau and in the Bungles in June 2007.
And then it rained. And rained. And rained. It rained on and off for over a week. Not a little stray cloud and a bit of drizzle, but constant, solid, soaking rain that led to extended road closures and had people stranded for many days. The sun did not show at all for over a week, the North-West was under a solid blanket of thick clouds.
Huh? If anybody had suggested such a weather event may occur, we would have laughed at them. It still seems impossible that it happened. Seems.
The reality is that nothing is impossible any more. Sure, June 2007 was a freak event. Nobody expects anything like that to happen again. But things appear to be changing. The climate is shifting and the wet seasons are becoming even more unpredictable.
Oh, and it rained in June 2008 again. (Though not as much.) It didn't rain seriously in 2009, but there were days when it looked as if it might ...
And then there was 2010, when May was as wet as March and it still rained in June! It hasn't gotten any more reliable since. What can I say... When it comes to the end of our wet seasons there are no guarantees, ever.
Only the first three paragraphs were in the original edition.
No, wet and dry season weather hasn't become any more reliable since!
June rain happened a few more times and I stopped mentioning every event.
But I guess another addition is due now.
And the last sentence certainly stands and is something everybody needs to keep in mind, always: There are no guarantees, ever.
In the last issue of this newsletter I shared with you a trip report from Ladina which showcased a great attitude towards that kind of unpredictable weather.
Here is another reader comment I loved, from someone caught out in the May road closures:
"The rain early May holed us up as well and we were stuck at Manning Gorge for six nights - but no better place to be. We made jam and scones and bread, had camp singalongs, and camping was free because we couldn't get out. Bonus!"
Such an attitude is a bonus, too:-)
Of course, looking at it that way is not possible for everyone. Being held up for 6 nights becomes a very different issue if you are on a very tight schedule! (One of many reasons I warn against tight schedules in Destination Kimberley.)
I hope you were able to enjoy your trip, no matter what the Kimberley had in store for you!
Rebecca certainly enjoyed her trip and wrote about it on the website.
Her trip report contains her full itinerary and also lots of useful little tips, so be sure to check it out.
Broome to Darwin, Family of Five, June/July 2016
Another reader page of a very different kind comes from Geoff:
Mitchell Plateau 1970
Personally, I always love reading about the old days. There are a few more reader pages about the old days on the site if you look around.
And if you want to share your own memories, photos or trip reports, be they from this season or last or 50 years ago, you can do so here.
A big thank you to everyone who took the time to write in with updates about little inaccuracies in the guide, and also to the businesses who contacted me directly to let me know about such changes.
There have been a handful of updates to Destination Kimberley (and there will always be more), nothing as dramatic as a road house closure though.
Mostly changes to prices, availability of tours, that kind of thing.
As you know, if your copy is a bit out of date and you are about to travel, you can ask for a fresh download here.
And that's it for today.
Those of you planning on leaving for their trips soon, please always also refer to the appendix of Destination Kimberley and Destination Top End or to the links in previous newsletters to keep yourself up to date about the conditions.
Feedback? Found some out of date info in one of my guides? Let me know via http://www.kimberleyaustralia.com/contact.html
(c) 2005-2016, Birgit Bradtke. All rights reserved.
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