Numerous records have been broken in NSW this month as the state experiences a dry and unseasonably hot start to spring.
As of 9am on Wednesday, most places in NSW had recorded less than 20 per cent of their average September rainfall.
Tenterfield was one of more than 15 weather stations in the state that have recorded no rainfall during the first 27 days of September. This feat has only happened on one other occasion (1963) in the site’s 147 year history.
Katoomba’s running monthly total of 0.6mm as of 9am Wednesday was their lowest on record up to this point in September. Data for the site is available back to 1885.
Sydney has only received 0.2mm of rain so far this month, as of 9am today. This is the city’s driest start to spring on record and puts the state capital on track to register its driest September in 159 years of records. The current September record is 2.1mm from 1882.
The arid start to spring in NSW follows the state’s driest August in four years and driest winter since 2002. This dry spell has resulted in above-average bushfire fuel loads across much of NSW at the start of this year’s fire season.
One positive outcome of the recent dry weather in NSW has been the ability of Australia’s alps to maintain a healthy late-season snow base, prompting a number of ski resorts to extend their season.
Early-spring rainfall usually enhances snowmelt in the alps, while dry weather slows this process down. Last ThursdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s natural snow depth at Spencers Creek in NSW was 240.9cm, which is the best depth in 17 years and the highest level this late in the season since 1996.
In terms of temperatures, September 2017 will be remembered for its records. Prior to this year, no location in NSW had registered a temperature of 40 degrees during September. Last Saturday, this mark was reached at Wilcannia (40.5C), White Cliffs (40.3C), Wanaaring (40.2C) and Bourke (40C). Impressively, seven sites in NSW exceeded the previous September state record of 39.6 degrees on that day.
As if last weekend’s unprecedented September heat wasn’t enough, a pulse of even hotter air is targeting the state’s north in the middle of this week.
Maximum temperatures are forecast to reach 41-42 degrees in the Upper Western District of NSW this afternoon. These temperatures will re-break the four-day old September record set at Wilcannia (40.5C) last weekend.
Looking ahead, this coming Saturday will be almost 20 degrees cooler than today in northwest NSW. Wilcannia is forecast to reach a top of just 23 degrees.
A pulse of cold air behind a front will even bring a burst of fresh snow to the alps on Saturday, providing some fresh cover on the Snowy Mountains for the long weekend.
Image — Off the chart heat! 40 degrees and above this afternoon for parts of NSW / Weathermap/WeatherWatch
– Ben Domensino, Weatherzone