Annual Weather Review
Armidale NSW - 2002

© Compiled and written by Peter Burr, U.N.E, using data recorded at the Bureau of Meteorology/ University of New England weather station at East Armidale. No part of this review may be reproduced for commercial purposes without prior permission from the author

2002 was a year of low rainfall, mostly light winds, and warmer than normal temperatures with the exception of the winter months which experienced severe frosts. It rained on 90 days with fine weather on 216 days.

While other parts of New South Wales were severely drought affected in 2002, Armidale faired a little better, although it was still the driest for 10 years. Moderate to heavy rain fell in January, February and March which was then followed by a very dry four months from April to July with only 56 millimetres recorded which was 139 millimetres less than the long term average (LTA) for that period. The situation improved from late August which received near average rainfall. As atmospheric moisure levels increased a number of moderate falls occurred throughout the spring months, mostly from thunderstorms, although the September and October totals were still below average. November received above average falls, but dry conditions returned again in December. Total for the year was 651.6 millimetres which was 137 mm less than the LTA. March was the wettest month with 112.4 mm, and the driest was April with just 2.2 mm.

Day temperatures throughout the year were mostly warmer than normal, particularly in the winter and spring months - November's average maximum was the highest for 105 years. Overnight minimums however were generally a little cooler than normal. The winter months with sunny days and clear night skies produced a number of severe frosts with the temperature dropping below -8.0 degrees on 10 mornings. July's average minimum of -4.8 degrees was the lowest for 32 years. The highest temperature for the year was 34.0 degrees on January 12th, and the lowest was -10.5 degrees on July 13th. The lowest maximum was 8.1 degrees on June 28th and August 25th. Maximums reached or exceeded 30.0 degrees on 20 days, maximums were lower than 10.0 degrees on 5 days, and minimums were lower than 5.0 degrees on 164 days.
2002 was Armidale's eighth hottest year on record based on 111 years of temperature records. During this period the hottest year was 1998 and the second hottest was 1938. Armidale's yearly temperatures have shown a gradual rising trend since the mid 1970s.

Winds were light to moderate in January and September, and lighter than normal in all other months. The prevailing directions were easterlies in March and April, and westerlies for the rest of the year. The year totalled 18 windy days* (annual average 20 days), and 148 days with light winds** (annual average 144 days). Winds were westerly on 140 days, easterly on 87 days, south-westerly on 35 days, north-westerly on 29 days, south-easterly on 28 days, variable on 26 days, southerly on 12 days, north-easterly on 6 days, and northerly on 2 days.

Total for the year was 1386.6 millimetres which was 174 mm higher than the long term average. Average daily evaporation for the year was 3.8 mm, and the highest amount in a single day was 11.4 mm on January 2nd.

There were 17 frosts more than normal with a total of 114 for the year. There were 24 light frosts, 43 moderate frosts and 46 severe frosts. The first frost was on April 21st which produced a frost-free period of 149 days over the summer of 2001-02. The last frost was an unusually late one on December 7th.

There were fogs on 34 days which is 2 days more than the annual average. The months with the most fogs were April and May with 8 and 9 fogs respectively.

Those who were hoping to see snow in 2002 were disappointed. Due to the very dry conditions throughout the winter and milder than normal day temperatures there were no snowfalls. The annual average is 2.4 days of snow.

Thunderstorm activity was higher than normal with January and December having the most number of storms. There were 88 thunderstorm events during the year (the annual average is 60) - 50 slight storms, 12 moderate storms, 5 heavy storms, and 21 occasions of thunder without precipitation. There were no severe storms.

There were hailfalls on 2 days (the annual average is 3.3 hail days). Hail fell on January 16th - two falls (up to 10mm diameter mixed with rain during thunderstorms). Soft hail mixed with rain fell on May 25th.

Flash flooding in Dumaresq Creek occurred in the afternoon of February 17th during a thunderstorm, in the afternoon of February 18th during moderate to heavy rain, and in the evening of November 29th during a thunderstorm.

Visibility was reduced to less than 20 kilometres by bushfires on a number of days in January, October, November and December. In the morning of October 18th the smoke haze was particularly thick with visibility less than 1000 metres.
A large dust cloud affected the region on October 23rd with visibility reduced to 1000 metres in the middle of the day. A second dust cloud on November 30th reduced visibility to less than 15 kilometres. On both occasions the dust was blown into this region from drought ravaged areas in the west of the state by strong westerly winds.

* Windy day - average wind speed higher than 20 kms per hour: 9am to 6pm
** Day with light winds - average wind speed less than 8 kms per hour: 9am to 6pm


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