Cars have been submerged by flood waters in Lismore.
Cars have been submerged by flood waters in Lismore.

A summer of ‘two halves’

THE bushfire crisis and sustained drought made this last summer seem one of the worst on record, but just how hot was it exactly?

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the summer of 2019/20 shaped up to be among the three warmest on record for Australia.

Bureau climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins said summer was the tale of two halves, and two main climate drivers.

“At the start of summer, we saw both a very strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole and a near-record negative Southern Annular Mode, and that resulted in both the warmest and driest December on record, with significant fire weather throughout many parts of the country,” Dr Watkins said.

“Summer overall was actually drier than average for NSW but what that doesn’t convey is that it was exceptionally dry,” Dr Watkins said.

“It was record dry in December, but more mixed in January and then February we tended to see a bit more rainfall particularly close to the coast.

“In fact, some pockets are likely to see their wettest February on record.

“In terms of temperature though, very warm across the state over summer during both daytimes and night times and looking like we will be well above two degrees warmer than average for the summer as a whole for NSW.”

The mean for Lismore over December was 32.1, with the highest temperature reached 38.7 degrees.

January saw a mean of 32.4, with a highest temperature recorded at 38.4 degrees.

November saw a mean temperature of 32.4 degrees with a maximum of 38.6 degrees.

Byron Bay was cooler with a mean of 28.8 in December and a maximum of 33.8.

Casino saw 33.3 degrees in December but 39.0 degree top temperature on a single day.

The BOM reported 2019 Australia’s warmest year on record, with the annual national mean temperature 1.52C above average.

Both mean annual maximum and minimum temperatures above average for all states and the Northern Territory.

In January, Lismore saw 245.4mm of rain with a high for the month of 128.6 recorded on one day compared to 30.2mm of rain in July 2019 and 4.4mm in September.

In February the region saw 402.4mm rain recorded for the month.

Casino received 206mm of rain in February while in September, Casino recorded just 12.2mm of rain.