Big rain costs our economy

Vehicles making their way across the flooded Hamilton Plains on Monday September 20.
Vehicles making their way across the flooded Hamilton Plains on Monday September 20.

SEPTEMBER proved to be a record breaking rainfall month in the Whitsundays and it came at a cost.

For Whitsunday residents, the down pour on September 19 and 20 and the continual rainfall so far in October has had a huge impact on our economy.

In September, flights scheduled to land at Proserpine Airport were cancelled, roads from Proserpine to Airlie Beach were blocked by tidal rivers and creeks and many tourists were forced to cancel their day trips with numerous tourism operators forced to stay indoors.

Tourism Whitsundays (TW) chief executive Peter O'Reilly said this unseasoned rainfall had a crippling effect on the already suffering tourism industry.

“Rain at times like this, when it's meant to be our peak season hurts us very much,” he said.

“September-October should be some of our busiest times of the year.

“The weather we had in September, they were wet season events.”

Mr O'Reilly said the entire tourism industry suffered as a result of the inclement weather, in particularly the marine travel industry.

“Whether it be day trips or overnight sailing cruises, people couldn't go,” he said.

“I'm sure there was an impact on accommodation levels as well with people cancelling.”

With the wet season usually expected to start in December, Queensland climate services manager for the Bureau of Meteorology Jeff Sabburg said this rainfall was uncharacteristic for spring.

“It's very exceptional and we've got record values across the state,” he said.

“The amount of rainfall for September was phenomenal as September is usually a dry month and if this is anything to go by, it is unfavourable for very wet conditions [ahead].”

With only 0.2mm recorded at Proserpine Airport in September last year and the monthly September average standing at 20.5mm, any rain that fell this year felt out of place.

On September 20 alone, there was 145.4mm of rain at the airport.

Hamilton Island also recorded record rainfall with 175mm recorded throughout the month.

With the down pours continuing into October Mr O'Reilly said the continual rainfall over the past two months impacted their regional market the most.

“If they know that the weather is going to be bad, they just wont come,” he said.

September rainfall

  • Wettest September on record for Queensland
  • 24 per cent of the state had the highest September rainfall on record
  • Proserpine Airport highest daily rainfall (September 20) - 145.4mm
  • Hamilton Island Airport monthly rainfall - 175.0mm


October Rainfall

October rainfall this year has been more than this time last year. These results are for the first two weeks of the month:

  • Proserpine – 17mm in 2010 vs zero in 2009
  • Hamilton Island – 49.6mm in 2010 vs zero in 2009
  • Cannonvale (unofficial) – 50mm vs zero in 2009

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