Weather fit for brass monkeys
By SALLY GORDON
IF you found yourself whingeing about the eye-watering chill yesterday morning, you had every right.
Bureau of Meteorology statistics revealed yesterday was among the 19 coldest days in Grafton since 1966, with an early morning temperature of -0.5 degrees Celsius.
Six kilometres out of Grafton on the Lawrence Road, residents were even colder with a temperature of -3 degrees at 6.10am.
The Northern Star reported a Bureau reading of -10.6 degrees at Tenterfield before sunrise yesterday morning.
It was the lowest temperature in the town in 40 years.
By 9am in Grafton the morning sun had kicked in, lifting the mercury a little higher to four degrees.
Down river, residents were a touch warmer with reports from Yamba of temperatures around six degrees at 6am and seven degrees at Maclean.
A thick layer of frost covered paddocks and fields around the Clarence, including the Grafton racecourse, where despite the chill factor, there has been plenty of early morning action in the lead-up to Thursday's Grafton Cup.
Grafton strapper Peter 'Strapps' McLellan was up at sunrise on Saturday taking Empire Rising and Resurgan from the John Shelton stable to trackwork.
He said Saturday wasn't as cold as it was yesterday.
"Saturday wasn't too bad, this morning was very cold ... but the horses are used to it, it's normal for them," he said.
Grafton racecourse manager Warren Ford said the frost would not affect the way the track races, but could take its toll on the colour of the grass.
A Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson said the region was experiencing a high-pressure system that was producing calm, clear conditions with cold, dry air. He said the typical wintry blasts were caused from a trough and two fronts approaching Sydney, which were pushing a cool southwesterly off the snowfields towards the North Coast.
Yesterday's chill factor also accompanied an early morning fog which blanketted the Valley from Ulmarra through to Grafton.
The Bureau spokesman said moisture in the air from sea breezes on Sunday would have saturated into fog when the temperature dropped.