SCORCHER: Heatwave conditions were felt across much of NSW in November.
SCORCHER: Heatwave conditions were felt across much of NSW in November.

DRY SPELL: Driest spring in 100 years for parts of Clarence

THE closure of a beloved Clarence business is a stark reminder of the severe and dire conditions the region faces in what was the driest spring in more than 100 years for parts of the Clarence.

The spring climate summary released by the Bureau of Meteorology on Monday revealed the dire numbers, with 27.9mm recorded at Harwood Island throughout spring - the lowest recorded rainfall since 35.4mm fell in 1915.

25.4mm was recorded at Grafton research station, the lowest recorded rainfall since 1951 when 41mm fell. The average rain for the region in Spring is 179mm.

 

Rainfall in NSW from September 1 to November 30.
Rainfall in NSW from September 1 to November 30.

 

"NSW has had the third-driest first 11 months of the year on record and the driest since 1940, every month in 2019 apart from March has seen markedly less rainfall than average," the report said.

On Saturday, Southgate dairy business Big River Milk announced the drought had crippled their business and had made the difficult decision to shut up shop.

The pinch has been felt across the state with this being the sixth driest spring on record and extreme heat in November saw heatwave conditions across most of NSW.

Early in the month temperatures climbed to 38 degrees in Grafton, the highest for the month of 24 days above average temperatures.

Spring began with warm temperatures, low humidity and gusty winds - the perfect storm for fire weather that has brought devastation to the Clarence Valley and beyond.

The hot, dry and potentially dangerous weather isn't over yet.

NSW maximum temperatures 1 September to November 30.
NSW maximum temperatures 1 September to November 30.

 

"Unfortunately for NSW, things are still looking warm and dry for the summer period," BOM head of long-range forecasts Andrew Watkins said.

Dr Watkins said there was a higher than 80 per cent chance summer would be drier and warmer than normal.

"The key culprit for our current and expected conditions is one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole events on record," Dr Watkins said.

"A positive IOD means we have cooler than average water pooling off Indonesia, and this means we see less rain-bearing weather systems, and warmer than average temperatures for large parts of the country.

Dr Watkins said hot, dry winds are also expected to continue throughout December and January.



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