Monsoon, Wet Season And Dry Season
The Kimberley climate is defined by a distinct wet season and dry season.
We are located north of the Tropic of Capricorn, so the climate in the Kimberley is a tropical monsoon climate.
You find this climate not only in Western Australia, but across all of Australia's North.
We have no spring, summer, autumn and winter, and this is initially confusing for visitors not familiar with the tropics.
The table below shows how the Kimberley seasons relate to the seasons in your part of the world.
(eg. US, Europe)
(eg. SE Australia, NZ)
So the time from May to October is the dry season, and November to April the wet season.
This is a very broad generalisation. You can find details about what to expect during your visit on the page Kimberley Weather and Temperatures, and more background information about the Kimberley climate and the seasons below.
Kimberley Climate - The Monsoon Climate
The word monsoon was originally used to describe a seasonal wind pattern in the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, but the definition has since been broadened. Today the term describes an annual cycle of dramatic weather events in the Asian, African and Australian tropical regions. Actually, only the wet season is dramatic...
The Kimberley dry season is characterised by clear blue skies, easterly winds and balmy days with some chilly nights. The weather is very stable, and outdoor events can be planned years in advance. It won't rain. Every day is so perfect and beautiful, it is nearly boring...
The wet season is a different story...
Hot and humid, sometimes violent, and above all unpredictable.
What is happening is that during this hotter time of the year the land heats up a lot more than the ocean does. Hot air rises upwards, a low pressure trough forms and sucks in moist air from the oceans. The air cools, moisture condenses, and it rains. Simple enough, but impressive to watch in real life...
Kimberley Climate - The Wet Season
During the "build up", the beginning of the wet season, rain occurs in form of sometimes violent thunderstorms. Huge cloud masses pile up in the afternoons, spectacular lightening shows offer hours of entertainment, and the rain is localised, short-lived and heavy. It is often preceded by strong winds. It is also very refreshing and welcome.
The Kimberly weather patterns change as the wet season progresses. No more small isolated storms. The north of Australia is more and more affected by big low pressure systems that can dump incredible amounts of rain on us. If such a tropical low moves out onto the ocean it can turn into a powerful cyclone...
It is impossible to predict if and when a cyclone or a tropical low will occur. The Kimberley may experience weeks of sunny, hot and humid weather with only the occasional thunderstorm. Some years some areas get hardly any rain... But then, when it rains it pours...
Flooding is not unusual in the Kimberley climate. Even the main highway gets cut off at times, sometimes for many days.
If you visit us during the dry season have a look at our river beds, and at the floodway markers at the side of the road. And then imagine that riverbed full of water...
And if you visit during the wet season and it does rain... You're in for the experience of a life time.
After reading about the Kimberley climate, would you believe that for most locals the wet season is the favourite time of the year?
It is, and you can find out why on the Kimberley Weather page.