Glen Innes smashes temperature records in driest ever Spring

APOCALYPSE: Wytaliba was wrecked in a deadly firestorm in November. This is the Mann river. Picture: Tony Grant.
APOCALYPSE: Wytaliba was wrecked in a deadly firestorm in November. This is the Mann river. Picture: Tony Grant.

Glen Innes has endured its hottest and driest Spring ever, with the airport station recording just 86.2mm of rain over the season in a drought that the Bureau predicts will not end in summer.

That's less than a third of the average Spring rainfall of 259.9mm and smashes a 23 year old record for the town. The agriculture station's bureau site recorded just 74.3mm of rain, the lowest since 1980.

It was also the hottest Spring ever, with an average maximum of 24 degrees about 3 warmer than normal.

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Towns like Armidale, Inverell, Guyra, Tabulam and Tamworth also endured their warmest ever Spring on record and Tenterfield recorded its warmest Spring daily mean maximum since Gallipoli, with the mercury hitting 25.3 degrees in the warmest average since 1915.

Around half NSW recorded well below average rainfall in Spring; 2019 is set to be the state's driest year since 1940.

Conditions turned deadly this Spring with bushfire conditions among the worst on record. Very low humidity and gusty winds created the worst fire weather index since 1950 on September 6 - with an out of control blaze fuelled by dry ground wrecking a number of homes that day in Tenterfield. It was just one of several emergency-level fires in the region this season, one of which killed two while demolishing much of Wytaliba village in an unprecedented state-wide crisis.

There's no end in sight. Meteorologists predict hot and dry conditions are likely to continue well into 2020, with the bureau's summer outlook predicting a scorching summer, according to head of long-range forecasts Dr Andrew Watkins.

These cicadas in Wytaliba have a long way to fly for water. Picture: Tony Grant.

These cicadas in Wytaliba have a long way to fly for water. Picture: Tony Grant.

"The key culprit for our current and expected conditions is one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole events on record," he said.

"A positive IOD means we have cooler than average water pooling off Indonesia, and this means we see less rain-bearing weather systems, and warmer than average temperatures for large parts of the country.

"The positive IOD means we're also expecting a delayed onset for the northern monsoon, one of the key drivers for tropical rainfall during the summer months.

"At this stage we're expecting the onset of the northern monsoon by mid-summer, which should see the odds for closer to average rainfall increasing from January and into February."

He said communities need to be alert to potential severe bushfire risk over summer.