It?s official, January was a real stinker

By PETER ELLEM

IF YOU thought January just gone was wet, hot and humid in the Clarence Valley, you would be right, according to official and unofficial weather watchers.

A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman yesterday said that seasonal weather patterns for the start of the year seldom changed in the northeastern corner of New South Wales.

''Record rainfall can be recorded at any of our official sites if a slowmoving thunderstorm passes over them and dumps buckets of rain in the gauges,'' he said.

The spokesman said the Clarence and Richmond valleys had been relatively sheltered from severe drought conditions which had gripped the inland since 2001.

The Bureau's official rainfall and temperature figures for January were:

Grafton: total rainfall of 229.6mm (highest since January 2005 241mm); heaviest fall of 60.2mm on January 8; hottest day of 41.6 degrees Celsius on January 3; compares with hottest day in 38 years of record keeping of 43.8 degrees Celsius on January 8, 1994.

Yamba: 210.6mm (highest since June 2005 330.5mm); heaviest fall of 62.4mm on January 9; hottest day of 29.1 degrees Celsius on January 24, compares with 50-year record of 42.5 degrees Celsius on January 12, 2002.

Maclean: 263.2m (highest since March 2001's 494.7mm; heaviest fall of 74.2mm on January 9; no temperatures available.

Meanwhile, Daily Examiner rainfall recorder Bob Liddiard's backyard gauge in Maclean filled up with 257.5mm during January, the highest total for that month since 1992's 304mm.

Mr Liddiard, who has been taking twice daily rainfall readings since 1987, said January 1989 stood out with 424mm. He could recall much wilder weather ? flooding and cyclonic conditions around January 'every three to four years' ? during the 1960s.

ABC North Coast NSW's Graftonbased weather watcher Reg Bultitude had the January rainfall total at 215mm compared with 186mm last January. Christmas Eve 2005 was a scorcher with a maximum temperature of 41 degrees Celsius, but January 13 2003 still rated as the hottest January day ? 47.2 degrees Celsius.

Mr Bultitude relies on two thermometers, a Mercury one and an electronic one, for greater accuracy.



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