Record breaking dry spell hits north Queensland
TOWNSVILLE has experienced its driest December in four years, receiving just a fraction of its average rainfall for the month.
The city saw just 16.8mm of rainfall compared with the average of 125mm.
It was Townsville's driest December since 2013, when a mere 9.4mm fell.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Adam Blazak said the weather pattern in Queensland varied with each year.
"Certainly in Queensland, you can never tell," he said.
"For Townsville this last month I could say there were upper-level ridges. A lot of warm air in the upper atmosphere suppresses rainfall activity."
However, 2018 may be off to a good start, with rain predicted from Wednesday.
"An upper-level trough will be moving up the Queensland coast and will bring with it a lot of cold air," Mr Blazak said.
"The cold air helps to create thunderstorms and showers.
"A few consecutive days of rain to get the soil wet, fingers crossed."
Townsville is forecast to experience above-average temperatures ahead of the trough this week, with a steamy 35C predicted for tomorrow.
Deputy Mayor Les Walker said the Ross River Dam was sitting at 14 per cent capacity with a volume of 33994 ML.
"Any rain is fantastic. If people stick to the Level 3 consumption rate, we can stay around that 13 per cent and 14 per cent mark for some time," he said.
Level 4 water restrictions will be activated if the Ross River Dam gets down to 10 per cent.
Cr Walker was pleased locals were sticking to daily consumption rates.
"People have been fantastic and very disciplined. So very few people have stepped outside of consumption," he said. "We don't want to see anybody on Level 4. What we've got to do is manage the resource well. We'd like to see a beautiful consistent rain over the next three months that fills our water storage as well as greens our city.
"We wish everybody in 2018 a very wet season and a prosperous new year."
Councillor Paul Jacob said Townsville was thankful for good rain in October that offset the dryness that December brought.
"The wet season here in Townsville traditionally starts in January," he said.
"February and March are our wetter months. I'm hoping that this change into a wetter pattern will occur towards the end of January.
"I think we'll definitely get some decent rains in February and March based off the long-term weather bureau and long-term forecasters."