Wild Warwick weather worst in over a century, data shows
THE Bureau of Meteorology last week confirmed what many people were aware of – 2019 was the warmest and driest year on record.
Rainfall across the country was 40 per cent lower than previous averages and the average national temperature was 1.52 degrees warmer, according to Bureau metrologist Matthew Bass.
“It was the driest year on record, in particular for southern Queensland, including Warwick, which recorded the lowest rainfall on record,” Mr Bass said.
“A strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole was one of the main drivers for this dryness, which has started to breakdown.
“That Dipole has reverted to a more neutral stance which will hopefully bring more rainfall through 2020.”
It’s rainfall that Greymare farmer Jeff Thornton is hopeful to see in the coming year.
“I’ve lived down here for 45 years and I’ve never seen it this dry,” Mr Thornton said.
“We had just 137mm in 2019, and the lowest we’d seen before that was 14 inches on the old scale”
Despite the historically dry year, Mr Thornton remains positive that changing weather patterns will once again bring much needed rain.
“I think this is really just a one off,” he said.
“It’s obviously happened in the past so it’ll definitely turn around again.”
“1983 was a fairly dry year here, and I can remember it was fairly dry in 1969 and 1970 when I was living in the Burnett region.”
While the nation beat previous extreme temperatures by a significant margin, Mr Thornton can’t recall the heat being any warmer than normal.
‘It’s been hot and it’s been hot before,” he said.
“We haven’t really noticed a great deal of difference in that.”
With forecasts for 2020 promising, the Bureau are positive that a breakdown in Dipole and neutral El Niño could bring rain.
“There’s good news on the horizon and we could start to see some rainfall early this year,” Mr Bass said.
“For the next three months (February to April), we do have some parts, in particular northern Queensland, exceeding the average rainfall.
“In fact, this week have an active trough that is coming inland and should see some showers and storms in the coming days.”