Very soon after Tropical cyclone Donna which deepened to a very low central pressure of 935 mbs, another cyclone named Ella, formed in the South Pacific. This new cyclone was not as strong as Donna and did not last long, but nevertheless led to increasing humidities and rain along the NSW and QLD coasts and also just west of the ranges in the Central west of NSW.
Cyclone Donna was the strongest ever cyclone recorded south of the Equator during the month of May in the last 150 years. Seven out of the nine tropical cyclones this year occurred in both April and May in the South Pacific Ocean and this is easily the greatest number in any year for those two months in 187 years of records dating back to 1830.
The two cyclones this month have prevented notably warmer than average days since the end of April in our regions; more noticeable in Southern Victoria where maxima have been close or below May normals with persistance cloud and fogs. The highest temperature in Melbourne this month so far has failed to reach 21 degrees and this is the first time since 1971 that this temperature has not been reached during the first half of May. Other such ocurrences were in 1944, 1954, 1956, 1960, 1962 , 1968 and 1970 in the last 70 years in Melbourne.
During last week there were isolated heavy falls around the South Coast of WA around Esperance with gaugings 40 to 50 mms. Last Sunday 14th May isolated thunderstorms occurred in the Central West. West Wyalong recorded 40 mms to Sunday morning and this was the wettest May day there since 43 mms in May of 1980.
The BOM commenced naming cyclones in 1964 with female names and then in December 1975 male names were added. This was at the time my second son, David was born. Six weeks later on 19th January 1976 by coincidence, a massive and powerful cyclone named David hit the QLD coast.
The current synoptic charts indicate an inland low pressure moving across southern inland WA and SA and this will provide rain at most places in our regions by 20th May. It has been very dry the last few weeks.