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Matt Pearce, 30 May 2008, 11:48 PM UTC

Driest May on record for Sydney

Driest May on record for Sydney
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Press Release

Driest May on record for Sydney

31/05/2008: Sydney has just endured its driest May on record, according to

The city picked up just three millimetres of rain throughout the entire month, compared to a long-term average of 122mm. This made it the driest May since records began way back in 1859.

In fact, the entire state of New South Wales experienced a very dry month, putting a worrying dent in the recovery from long-term drought. Other towns to come in with their lowest May rainfall on record included Cessnock, Mangrove Mountain, Bellambi, Camden, Bega, Green Cape, Ulladulla, Tabulam and Narrandera.

"Typically, during May, we would see plenty of moisture across New South Wales with the odd low pressure system off the coast. It is also the time of year when northwest cloud bands start to have an impact on our rainfall. This leads to May being statistically one of the wettest months of the year," meteorologist Matt Pearce said.

"However, this year, the northwest cloud bands have been largely absent so far, following a trend that has become apparent in recent years. In addition, the waters off our coastline have been cooler than normal, which means that moisture levels over the state have been too low to produce any useful rainfall."

It was also quite a warm month. Sydney had an average maximum of 21 degrees, above the long-term normal of 19. However, there was still the odd cool day. For example, on the 18th, the city reached just 18 degrees, making it the coldest May day in two years.

Nights were closer to normal. Sydney’s average minimum of 11 degrees was right on the long-term normal.

When both daytime and overnight temperatures were combined, Sydney’s average temperature for May came in at 16 degrees, slightly above the long-term normal of 15.

On the other hand, nights were generally colder across the rest of New South Wales. For example, Braidwood had an average minimum of just one degree, its lowest for May in 13 years of records.

"As a result of the lower humidity across New South Wales during May, skies were clearer. This typically leads to higher daytime temperatures and colder nights, which is what we saw this month," Pearce said.

"We are expecting drier than normal weather to continue across central and northwestern parts of the state through winter. However, northeastern and southern districts can expect close to normal rainfall."

Media Inquiries:

Matt Pearce
02 9965 9236

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