New England records hottest, driest year in a generation: BoM

The New England endured its warmest, driest year on record last year, according to annual statistics released today by the Bureau of Meterology.
The New England endured its warmest, driest year on record last year, according to annual statistics released today by the Bureau of Meterology.

The New England endured its warmest, driest year on record last year, according to annual statistics released today by the Bureau of Meterology.

Tenterfield, Glen Innes, Emmaville, Inverell, Armidale, Guyra, Deepwater and Uralla all endured their driest ever year, many of them beating records over a century old.

Glen Innes, which had the country's coldest night of the year, also smashed a 48 year old record for hottest day, and recorded its warmest average temperature in two decades. The town twice received snow in 2019.

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In terms of rain, the town's agricultural research station recorded its driest year in 103 years measuring just 335mm of rain, less than half the 836mm of average annual rainfall - beating a record set in 1919.

Rainfall records tumbled in Tenterfield and Emmaville as well, with the towns recording their driest years in 144 and 142 years, measuring less than a third their average rainfall. Deepwater had its driest year in 126 years.

Jim Ritchie, stock and agent at Landmark, has been feeding cattle on his property for all of 2019.

Jim Ritchie, stock and agent at Landmark, has been feeding cattle on his property for all of 2019.

Jim Ritchie, stock and agent at Landmark, has been feeding cattle on his property for all of 2019. He said the intense dry has come on top of a horrible 2018 and said some farmers have been forced ito feed for two years.

"It's been tough.

"Its been very difficult for farmers. Contrary to some people saying they don't look after their stock, they've spent an absolute fortune just keeping them alive.

"Some guys have spent absolute fortunes per week in feed. And that's been going on for almost two years."

He said in the two years since January 2018, the region had received less than one year's average rainfall.

Jim was a young boy during the 1965 drought, but he said older farmers rate the 2018-19 drought as the worst dry the region has ever faced.

"It'll take a long time to break this, you've got to get a bucketload of rain throughout the country and fill up all your subsoil moisture; it's going to take a massive amount of work before you can say we're out of the drought."

Glen Innes recorded its hottest year ever, and also its coldest days in decades.

Glen Innes recorded its hottest year ever, and also its coldest days in decades.

The Bureau of Meteorology is not predicting a quick end to the region's worst drought on record. BoM head of climate monitoring Dr Karl Braganza said climate change of over a degree since 2010 means very warm years are more likely to occur, driving drought and bushfire and making record breaking warm years more likely.

"Unfortunately the outlook is not indicating a widespread return to wetter than average conditions over drought and fire affected parts of eastern Australia," he said.

"But with the likely return of the monsoon by mid-January for northern Australia, it raises the chance that we could see some periods of higher rainfall move south in the coming months."

"It's important the community remains vigilant to the risk of more heat and fire days this summer, particularly given how dry the country has been over the past 12 months."

Rainfall for the coming months is expected to be average to below average in the east of Australia, with temperatures likely to remain warmer than average over the rest of summer, he said.

Towns across the region are running out of drinking water.

Towns across the region are running out of drinking water.

Higgins Storm Chasing's Thomas Hinterdorfer, extreme weather chaser and analyst, predicted a much of that rain would fall in narrow but massive storms, creating winners and losers.

"I think overall it's going to be on the dry side of average. I think some places will get very lucky and they'll probably get their average.

"If there's that one place that gets five or ten storms between now and the end of the month they could easily double their average.

"The unfortunate thing will be ten kilometers away the place that didn't get those five or ten storms may get half their average."

He said the "convective" weather conditions will be unpredictable and recommended people expect the unexpected.

"To be honest, we always have the saying that it takes one cyclone."

Statewide, NSW recorded its driest year on record, with less rainfall than the previous record set in 1944 and 2019 was nationally Australia's hottest and driest year on record with January 2019 the hottest month in Australian history.

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