As you may have noticed the first part of 2017 left the Wheatbelt of Western Australia thoroughly saturated. Unfortunately a few lives were lost in the terrible flooding
The havoc included ruined roads, major gutters in paddocks, destroyed dams, and left people throughout Ravensthorpe stranded. The damage toll continues to climb as Shires throughout the Wheatbelt, Goldfields, and Gascoyne are scrambling to repair roads and keep residents safe.
Everyone is shocked and mystified by this extreme weather occurrence. And it made us wonder, how often does major flooding hit Western Australia?
The first on record was in 1830, but the most significant in early records was in 1862. This flood was a result of Wheatbelt rains that flooded the Avon-Swan catchment and destroyed lives, bridges, and farms. July 1926 again had significant damage, though flood waters did not peak as high as the 1862 floods.
In more recent times are the Moora floods of 1999, when extreme flooding swept through the town twice once early in the year and then again in May. The banks of the Moore river broke and caused the evacuation town residents.
Again in 2008 breaking a two year drought, farmers in the Midwest and Wheatbelt thought they were in for another flood similar to the 1999 floods. The rain was welcome for filling up tanks and dams, and while rivers did rise- they did not overtake the floodline of 1999.
Why were the floods of 2017 not as devastating as 1999?
A few reasons. The rain occurred in a different area and in a different frequency or time span, it is impossible to compare two weather events of this magnitude. However, it might be considered that the rise of no till farming allows for improved moisture absorption and minimising run off.