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Cloudy New Year's week comes to a close across the east

Felix Levesque, Tuesday January 5, 2021 - 18:08 EDT

If you felt you did not get your share of sunshine this New Years period across the eastern cities, here is why.

A series of slow moving low pressure troughs crossed the south and east of Australia this New Years period, bringing an everlasting blanket of cloud. In the week to January 4th, Sydney saw, on average, 1 hour and 3 minutes of sunshine a day.

This was the cloudiest week around the new year in more than 40 years, and the cloudiest week in 7.5 years. This falls well short of the typical 7 hours and a bit of sunshine usually received around this time of year. These troughs also brought showers or rain on every day, with the weekly rainfall total creeping just above 50 mm.

Elsewhere across the east was also affected by these troughs. In Brisbane, the week around the new year was the cloudiest it has been in 5 years, with an average of around 7 hours of sunshine a day that week. Melbourne saw its cloudiest New Year's week in 4 years, with just above 5 hours of sunshine per day, well below the typical 8.5 hours.


Satellite image taken on New Years Eve showing cloud covering most of the Victorian, NSW and Queensland coast under a persistent regime of moist onshore winds feeding into low pressure troughs over this time period.

The forecast calls for a return of the clouds on Wednesday for Sydney, and on Thursday for Brisbane as troughs close in over the east bringing the risk of showers and grey weather.

Further south, a building region of high pressure will help clear cloud cover over Melbourne throughout Wednesday leading to a mostly sunny end of the work week and into the weekend. This building high pressure will help clear skies over Sydney on Thursday, ahead of a mostly sunny string of days. However, Brisbane is in for a more extended period of reduced sunshine as this high, along with low pressure over the Coral Sea, create a steady pressure gradient leading to a persistent moist onshore flow into the southeast Queensland region over the remainder of the week.

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