IT WAS a wet start and a stormy finish to Christmas Day for much of the New England North West, granting the wishes of many longing for a break to persistent dry weather and scorching temperatures.
Much-needed rain began before sunrise on Christmas morning with Tamworth receiving up to 10mm before 7am, but the showers eased early on, leaving muggy overcast skies for much of the day.
Late yesterday the storm clouds again rolled in, felling a tree on Gipps St in Tamworth and bringing down powerlines in Currabubula with reports of live wires sparking where they fell.
But the weather didn’t stop excited kids clutching new toys freshly delivered from Santa
getting out in Tamworth streets and parks to test drive their new goodies however.
Max and Celeste Campbell from Gunnedah were out early testing out new skateboards in Tamworth’s Anzac Park with their cousin Ross Cairns and Uncle Peter from Alice Springs.
Even Grandpa Peter Cairns had a turn, before the family returned to his East Tamworth home for a traditional big baked dinner.
“Turkey and all the trimmings for eleven people for lunch and then a bit of swimming planned for the afternoon,” Mr Cairns said.
Meanwhile, just around the corner, Andrew ‘Stretch’ McArthur was busy frying up an Aussie breakfast for his family before a leisurely lunch at his daughter Ellie’s home.
“Dad’s job is brekkie and we do lunch. He does a pretty good bacon and eggs,” Ellie said.
Family members from Victoria and Glen Innes flew in for the annual McArthur Christmas bash, of which the centrepiece was a good old fashioned 4kg ham.
“The secret to a good ham? Granny and a good slosh of brandy,” sister Penelope joked.
A popular way to broadcast well wishes to family and friends was via social media sites, while some took to Facebook to declare a “very merry Christmas to all,” and post photos of their families.
Across the region, families relaxed in pools and escaped to air conditioning as temperatures hit the mid-thirties and humidity soared.
But by the afternoon a severe thunderstorm warning for Tamworth, Gunnedah and Narrabri was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, with emergency authorities urging residents to be prepared for flash flooding and damaging winds.
For the Boxing Day public holiday temperatures are expected to drop by 10 degrees with isolated showers across the New England North West and a top of just 25 degrees for Tamworth.