Cities’ rain gauges left high and dry

FAULTY rainfall gauges have left Albury and Wangaratta with incomplete official tallies for February.

The showers that swept across the North East and Border were not properly recorded because Albury’s gauge was blocked by dust and Wangaratta’s had been affected by lightning.

The weather bureau confirmed Albury’s gauge at the airport gave the false reading of two millimetres in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday.

Albury’s Local Internet website recorded 20 millimetres in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday, with 16.6 millimetres falling from midnight to 9am.

Lightning strikes near Wangaratta’s rain gauge affected the instrumentation and gave a false reading of zero millimetres on Tuesday.

“It’s unfortunate that the records are lost and there’s no way to retrieve the data,” senior forecaster Richard Carlyon said yesterday.

“It’s unlucky to think two of the biggest towns didn’t get a reading,” he said.

Albury Airport reporting officer Brian Hodda said that he had received a call from the bureau about the gauge yesterday morning, but staff were already onto the problem.

“There were slight bits of dust that had accumulated at the top of the gauge,” he said.

The problem was fixed for Albury to record 0.2 millimetres, from 9am to noon, and the Border went on to record just 0.4 millimetres yesterday.

Readers posted several readings with The Border Mail yesterday.

One Table Top resident recorded 89 millimetres, while a North Albury resident recorded 20 millimetres to 7am yesterday.

East Albury weather watcher Tony Opie recorded 22.5 millimetres in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday at Murray Gardens, about a kilometre from the Albury weather station.

Meanwhile, Albury has sweltered through the region’s hottest summer in seven years.

Albury recorded 23 days in a row of temperatures 31 degrees or higher during February.

The hottest day of summer was 43.4 degrees on Saturday, January 5, followed by 39.5 on Friday, February 8.

The Border’s average maximum temperature in February was 33 degrees.