the old sou’wester

Am I imagining things? Perhaps there’s someone out there that can help me with this.

Bureau of Meteorology weather radarAs a kid, (many years ago!) I remember all the bad weather came from the south west. Cold, rainy days, cold fronts, storms – you name it, they all came out of the south west… as I remember, anyway. These days, when rain approaches Melbourne it is just as often from the north west and seems to get scattered by the ranges on that side of the city. I also remember summer storms – cracking shows with thunder and lightning and winds so strong that they swept the rain in spirals down our driveway. Obviously, we are still in drought and weather patterns are pretty grim, but this is one trend I feel has happened over the last 10 years.

So, the question – has anyone else noticed the relative lack of the old sou’wester? and storms, weren’t they almost inevitable after a hot day in summer?

Of course, those days we never had the wonderful BOM radar and all I remember is wonky lines on the ABC news weather map. I’m intending to look back over what records I can glean from the extensive bureau archives, but I thought I’d just pop the question here too, in case others have noticed it.

3 replies on “the old sou’wester”

  1. Yep, the directional shift has been worrying me too, for a couple of years now. I’ve had to adapt some household chores to accommodate — eg making sure I clear the roof gutters on the east side more often, to prevent overflows. (This used to be a once-a-year job.)

    And yes, one of the factors that attracted me to Melbourne in the late 1980s was the summer pattern of 3-4 hot dry days followed by a cool change and a bit of rain to clear the head (and the spirits). I was comparing it with Sydney, where it was seemingly all sticky-humid, all the time — bleh.

  2. “Obviously we are still in drought…” Hmm, “Drought” implies a temporary condition, something that ends.

    In the 19th century, a whole lot of farmland was created in South Australia and for twenty of more years wheat and other crops were grown, then “the drought” arrived and the crops dried and died. After five or ten years they realised that it wasn’t the drought that was unusual, it was the previous wetter weather. That area is now all semi-arid pasture.

    Just because its drier than you like, or drier than you remember, might not mean that its a “drought”, it might just mean that this is normal, or the new normal…

  3. @adrian: you’re quite right – this does appear to be the new norm. It’s just that I’ve been a bit of a weather nerd since as long as I can remember and I feel like the pattern which I knew for 30 years has, in the last 10 years, fundamentally shifted, with the passage of low pressure cells passing about 0.5° north of where they used to. Not much, but for Melbourne at least, it seems significant.

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