Interesting or Unusual Weather Events
at Armidale NSW
© Compiled by Peter Burr. No part of the following may be reproduced for commercial purposes without prior permission from the author.
7 Mar 2016
SUMMER 2015/2016 REVIEW
The summer of 2015/2016 had a mix of wet and dry weather with temperatures mostly above normal.
Low pressure troughs were active during December and January producing above average falls of rain and numerous thunderstorms. February however was much drier receiving very light rain.
The rainfall total for the three months was 249.4 millimetres which was 29 mm lower than the long term average (LTA).
December recorded 103.6 mm (LTA 89 mm), January 124.6 mm (LTA 101 mm) and February 21.2 mm (LTA 88 mm). The highest daily fall was 36.2 mm on 23rd December.
Temperatures were warmer than normal in December and February, but cooler than normal in January. The overall result for the three summer months was as follows:
Average maximum temperature: 26.2 deg (LTA: 25.6 deg)
Average minimum temperature: 12.1 deg (LTA 12.1 deg)
Temperatures reached 30.0 deg or higher on 17 days (LTA 11 days).
It was a reasonably sunny summer with 43 sunny days (LTA 42 days), and thunderstorm activity was a little lower than normal with storms on 16 days (LTA 19 days). No hail was observed with any of the storms.
Prevailing winds were easterlies in all three months.
25 July 2015
WEATHER OBSERVATIONS CUT
From 1st August 2015 the Bureau of Meteorology will cut the 3pm observation from a large number of weather stations staffed by co-operative observers across Australia. As the Bureau continues to move away from human involvement and more towards technology and automation, 36 manual weather stations in New South Wales, including Armidale, will have their observation roster halved with only the 9am readings remaining.
This means no information in the mid-afternoon will be available for meteorologists or the general public in rural towns where there are no automatic weather stations nearby. This includes the maximum temperature for the day which will not be available until 9am the following day.
Evening television weather reports will be able to give minimum temperatures only, maximums will be estimated.
In Armidale the TV networks will switch to using information from the automatic weather station at the airport, although these temperatures will be a little different from those at the city weather station where minimums in particular are often several degrees colder than at the airport.
The following weather stations in New South Wales are included in the cuts:
56037 ARMIDALE (EAST ARMIDALE) NSW
49002 BALRANALD (RSL) NSW
54003 BARRABA POST OFFICE NSW
69134 BATEMANS BAY (CATALINA COUNTRY CLUB) NSW
48015 BREWARRINA HOSPITAL NSW
47007 BROKEN HILL (PATTON STREET) NSW
48031 COLLARENEBRI (ALBERT ST) NSW
64008 COONABARABRAN (NAMOI STREET) NSW
73142 COOTAMUNDRA AIRPORT NSW
74034 COROWA AIRPORT NSW
59140 DORRIGO (OLD CORAMBA RD) NSW
64009 DUNEDOO POST OFFICE NSW
70263 GOULBURN TAFE NSW
73014 GRENFELL (MANGANESE RD) NSW
73141 GUNDAGAI (WILLIAM ST) NSW
56229 GUYRA HOSPITAL NSW
75032 HILLSTON AIRPORT NSW
63039 KATOOMBA (MURRI ST) NSW
75039 LAKE CARGELLIGO AIRPORT NSW
63226 LITHGOW (COOERWULL) NSW
52020 MUNGINDI POST OFFICE NSW
61051 MURRURUNDI POST OFFICE NSW
61390 NEWCASTLE UNIVERSITY NSW
51039 NYNGAN AIRPORT NSW
63063 OBERON (SPRINGBANK) NSW
66124 PARRAMATTA NORTH (MASONS DRIVE) NSW
50031 PEAK HILL POST OFFICE NSW
47029 POONCARIE MAIL AGENCY NSW
59030 SMOKY CAPE LIGHTHOUSE NSW
63077 SPRINGWOOD (VALLEY HEIGHTS) NSW
56032 TENTERFIELD (FEDERATION PARK) NSW
74106 TOCUMWAL AIRPORT NSW
72043 TUMBARUMBA POST OFFICE NSW
48079 WANAARING POST OFFICE NSW
65034 WELLINGTON (AGROWPLOW) NSW
55136 WOOLBROOK NSW
7 Jun 2012
ARMIDALE CITY NIGHTS COLDER THAN AIRPORT
Overnight temperatures on calm clear nights in the Armidale valley are colder than nearby higher areas including the airport.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) automatic weather station at Armidale airport is 5 kilometres from the CBD and is 93 metres higher than the BOM weather station in the city resulting in some often rather large differences in temperatures between the two stations.
The airport is located on an open wind-swept plateau, whereas the city is in a sheltered valley. At the airport the wind often blows all night, but in the protected valley it remains calm. On clear nights with no cloud to act as a “blanket” to reflect outgoing radiation, the ground cools rapidly which chills the layer of air in contact with it. A temperature inversion then occurs as this dense cold air drains down the slopes to accumulate in the lower part of the valley which can be up to four degrees colder than at the top of North and South Hills. This process does not occur at the airport, and minimums there on clear nights have been as much as eight degrees higher than those in the city. The average difference is around two to three degrees.
During the day the situation is reversed. Because the airport is more exposed, the winds are stronger than in the valley where some heating of the air takes place because of its lighter winds. The resulting daytime maximum temperatures are usually about one degree warmer than at the airport.
11 Jul 2010
ARMIDALE’S COLDEST TEMPERATURES
Armidale is located in a valley which is prone to very low temperatures on calm clear winter nights when cold air drainage and temperature inversions are common.
The lowest temperature recorded in Armidale was -11.2C
on June 30th 2010, however we can be certain that it has been colder than this
on a number of occasions in the last century.
Temperatures are currently recorded at a site in East Armidale, but prior to 1981 the readings were taken in the CBD. During a period of 16 years from 1981 to 1997 when both stations were operating, it was determined that temperatures on cold frosty nights at the East Armidale site were averaging around 3 degrees lower than those in the CBD. We can therefore assume that temperatures of -8.0C recorded in the CBD would be approximately equal to -11.0C at East Armidale.
An examination of weather records since 1908 reveals that temperatures have dropped to this equivalent of -11.0C or lower on 17 occasions which are listed below. This means that temperatures of -11.0C or lower occur on average of once every 6.1 years. However it should be noted that 11 of the 17 dates occurred from 1964 to 1971. This was during a period of general climate cooling. Overall there were eight occasions which were colder than June 30th 2010.
Chronological list of temperatures of -8.0C or lower recorded in the CBD from 1908 to 1996. The approximate equivalent at East Armidale is shown in brackets. There was no CBD reading available on the last date in 2010.
-10.0C (-13.0C) on 17/7/1918, -8.3C (-11.3C) on 23/6/1932, -9.1C (-12.1C) on 27/7/1943, -8.1C (-11.1C) on 1/7/1948, -8.1C (-11.1C) on 13/8/1964, -8.2C (-11.2C) on 12/7/1965, -8.2C (-11.2C) on 13/7/1965, -8.2C (-11.2C) on 17/7/1966, -8.1C (-11.1C) on 1/7/1968, -8.7C (-11.7C) on 14/7/1970, -9.3C (-12.3C) on 15/7/1970, -8.7C (-11.7C) on 16/7/1970, -8.7C (-11.7C) on 17/7/1970, -8.3C (-11.3C) on 18/7/1970, -8.2C (-11.2C) on 4/7/1971, -7.7C (-11.0C actual reading at East Arm) on 25/6/1986, -11.2C at East Arm on 30/6/2010.
From this list we can see that the lowest was on July 17th 1918 with a temperature of -13.0C equivalent to today’s location.
Note that five of the dates are in July 1970 which was an exceptionally severe month and the coldest over the 103 year period with an average minimum of -4.0C, equivalent to around -6.5C at East Armidale. July 1970 was also the driest July on record with only 0.5mm recorded for the whole month.
WEATHER EXTREMES - 2016
This is a brief summary of unusual weather extremes in 2015.
3rd January - During an overcast day of light rain and chilly easterly winds, the temperature reached a maximum of just 16.2C. This was the lowest January maximum for 30 years since 24th January 1986 when a maximum of 14.3C was recorded.
26th February - The maximum temperature of 34.6C was the highest for February since 9th February 2009 (35.0C). It was also the highest temperature for any month since 23rd November 2014 (35.6C).
Dry February - The rainfall total of 21.2 mm was 67 mm lower than the average and was the driest February since 1989 (13.8 mm).
Warm March - Based on maximum temperatures it was the warmest March since 1998 with an average maximum of 26.3C, 2.9C higher than the long term average.
6th & 7th April - The maximum temperatures of 28.0C on both the 6th and 7th were the highest for the month of April since 5th April 1986 (28.4C).
8th May - The maximum temperature of 24.8C was the highest for the month of May for 74 years since 5th May 1942 (26.7C).
WEATHER EXTREMES - 2015
This is a brief summary of unusual weather extremes in 2015.
20th March - The maximum of 33.8C was highest for the month of March since 7th March 1938 when it reached 34.4C at the post office. A very warm north-westerly airstream ahead of a low pressure trough and cold front caused the unusually high temperature.
17th April - The maximum of 26.7C at 2.05pm was the warmest for the month of April since 19th April 2005 when it reached 26.8C. Warm northerly winds over New South Wales ahead of a low pressure trough caused the unusually warm day.
26th April - Very cold south-westerly winds and cloudy conditions following a cold front which passed through the region in the early hours of the morning brought April’s lowest day temperatures for 21 years. The maximum temperature of 10.0C was the lowest for the month of April since 12th April 1994 (8.9C).
12th July - A severe cold front combined with a large upper level cold pool passed through in the early hours bringing light snow showers to Armidale. The maximum temperature for the day was 5.7C, but strong westerly winds created wind chill temperatures of well below zero. Snow showers were very light during the day with no snow settling on the ground.
13th July - Snow showers in the early morning partly settled on the ground in Armidale, but it was a very patchy cover in the centre of the city. Falls were a little heavier in South Armidale. Maximum temperature was 5.8C.
16th & 17th July - An upper level trough and cold pool moved through eastern New South Wales on Thursday bringing very low temperatures and widespread snowfalls to the Northern Tablelands. The snow started in the evening of the 16th at around 9pm and continued intermittently through the night until around 11am on the 17th. In Armidale there was a light patchy cover of snow on the ground about a centimetre deep in the morning in the centre of the city, however there was a better cover in other parts of the city. The snow melted during the morning. The maximum temperature on the 17th was just 6.0C, but the icy cold westerly winds made it feel much colder.
WEATHER EXTREMES - 2014
This is a brief summary of unusual weather extremes in 2014.
3rd January - The maximum temperature of 37.1C was the highest since 26th January 1952 when the post office recorded 38.4C. The temperature remained above 30 degrees for 13 hours from 10am to 11pm. At 9pm it was 34.5C, and by midnight it had cooled down to 26.5C.
Dry January - The rainfall total of just 17.2 millimetres was the lowest for the month of January since 1981 (13.2 mm).
Warm January - The average maximum temperature of 28.5C was the highest for any month since January 2003 (28.7C).
4th May - Coldest May day for 14 years with the temperature reaching a maximum of just 6.9 deg in bleak drizzly conditions.
8th & 9th July - Very low temperatures and severe frosts. The minimum on the 8th was -7.5C followed by -8.2C on the 9th. These were the lowest temperatures since 25th June 2012 (-9.0C).
18th July - Snow showers occurred between 7am and 9am. The snow did not settle on the ground in the middle of the city, but there was a settling fall at the University of New England on the north-west edge of the city, and also in South Armidale.
The maximum temperature of 5.5C was the lowest since 9th July 2008 (5.0C).
1st August - A fast moving dry cold front moved through the region with strong westerly winds gusting in excess of 50 kms per hour in the city in the early afternoon. Armidale airport recorded a maximum wind gust of 80 kms per hour at 1pm.
26th October - The maximum temperature of 32.4C was Armidale’s hottest October day on record (from 106 years of temperature records available). A low pressure trough over inland New South Wales directed very warm north-westerly winds over northern New South Wales caused the unusually high temperature. The previous highest October temperature on record was 31.5 deg on 19th October 2002. The 27th October 2014 was almost as hot as the previous day reaching 31.5C.
Warm October - With an average maximum temperature of 24.1C for the month, October 2014 was Armidale’s hottest October since 1896. Sunny skies, warm westerly winds and an almost complete lack of rain systems resulted in the unseasonably warm spring month.
15th November - The maximum temperature of 35.5C was the highest on record for November at the present weather station site (records commenced in 1981), and the highest (from records at the former CBD sites) since 19th November 1944 when the post office recorded 36.4C.
23rd November - Maximum temperature of 35.6C was recorded beating the record set eight days earlier by 0.1C.
Hot November - In an extraordinarily hot dry month, November 2014’s average maximum temperature of 28.0C ranked it as the second hottest November on record. The hottest was in 1897 averaging 28.6C at the post office. Temperatures exceeded 30C on eight days of the month with 35C reached or exceeded on 3 days.
2014 Hottest Year on Record - Based on all maximum and minimum temperatures for the year, 2014 was Armidale’s hottest year on record (from 123 years of available temperature records commencing 1891). See temperature graph at bottom of the homepage.
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