Chris Roberts, an avid weather watcher who, along with his mother Betty, submits statistics to the Tweed Daily News from Bilambil Hights.
Chris Roberts, an avid weather watcher who, along with his mother Betty, submits statistics to the Tweed Daily News from Bilambil Hights.

Proof we are getting hotter

MURWILLUMBAH recorded its hottest spring-time temperature on record in 2009.

On November 17 last year, Murwillumbah sweated through a hot 39.6 degree maximum temperature, 0.9 of a degree hotter than the previous spring record of 38.7 degrees set on November 2, 1977.

The record, which was also the town’s hottest day of the year, has been revealed as part of the Bureau of Meteorology’s Annual Australian Climate Statement released earlier this week.

It states that 2009 was the second hottest year on record for Australia and hottest for the state of New South Wales.

It brought to an end Australia’s hottest ever decade.

Climatologist Agata Imielska said the high temperature occurred during a heat wave which affected northern New South Wales in November.

“This year, Murwillumbah recorded very warm temperatures over a long period, as this record shows,” Ms Imielska said.

Prolonged hot conditions coupled with low rainfall helped create extreme dust storms in September 2009.She said New South Wales “definitely had some extreme events this year”, including three heat waves, which led to increased evaporation and dry conditions that played a part in the dust storms experienced in October.

It occurred in an eventful year of weather for the Tweed.

Heavy, flooding rainfall at the beginning of the year led Murwillumbah to record a “high” year of rainfall.

From February, Tweed felt the effects of three tropical cyclones, followed by further low-pressure systems as late as May, which caused huge seas and extensive damage.

But only months later, parts of the Tweed Shire were in drought and blue-green algae had contaminated the Bray Park Weir.

Extreme dust storms hit Tweed and the rest of New South Wales in September and by December water was being carted to Tyalgum, which was suffering through a blue-green algae contamination in its weir.

Fire on Round Mountain in December.December also saw fire destroy more than 700 hectares of bush on the Tweed Coast.

Betty Roberts and her late husband Dick were avid weather-watchers from their Bilambil Heights home for years and submitted rain gauge readings to the Tweed Daily News.

Mrs Roberts, who now has help from her son Chris collecting gauge measurements, said there was no doubt it had been a hot year.

“I have been here for well over 50 years and I have got to agree,” Mrs Roberts said.

“Mur’bah, I always think, is a very hot place myself, we usually do get a good ocean breeze (at Bilambil Heights) though.”

She said the dust storm was a low point of the year.

“I didn’t like it, of course. I don’t think we got it nearly as bad as some of the lower-lying places.”

Mr Roberts said his records showed spring 2009 was the driest spring since the drought of 2001.

“Up until June it was really great, we had better rainfall than usual, but the last half of the year was really hot with little rain.”

Weather stats

Dairy Farmer Collin Kennaugh on his property in Tyalgum in October.Murwillumbah (Bray Park)

Mean temp: 26.2, +0.4 above average

Highest temp: 39.6, recorded on November 17

Mean Minimum temp: 14.8, +0.4 above average.

Lowest temp: 1.4 recorded June 12

Total rainfall: 1845.6mm (ranked high)

Average annual total: 1596.2mm

Percentage of annual average: 116%

Coolangatta

Mean temp: 25.6, +1.1 above average

Highest temp: 34.6, on October 3

Mean Minimum temp: 16.0, +0.1 above average

Lowest temp: 2.2 on June 11

Total rainfall: 1566.4mm (ranked average)

Average total 1494.0mm

Percentage of annual average: 105%



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