LESS than a month ago we stood on the brink of drought. Today, the raging waters have stopped many of us in our tracks.
Across the region some are still stranded, others have been stopped from moving on or returning for a new school year as major floods swamp the northern parts of the state and coastal regions.
Localised flooding is widespread across the plains and in the tablelands.
What a difference a month makes on the regional weather front.
On January 12, Tamworth recorded its hottest day on record when the temperature hit 42.5 degrees Celsius but there was a run of hotter-than-hot days from the first day of 2013, with two weeks where the top was more often than not above 35 degrees. Across the north it was a similar story – hot days and hot nights that reached back to those of half a century ago.
We came into the New Year with red alerts and a week later NSW faced the worst fire danger in its history.
The fires soon followed with the Warrumbungle National Park exploding into a fiery blaze on Sunday, January 13. It burned across the area, scorching the earth over more than 56,000 hectares within five days and destroying 51 homes.
At last count yesterday, the Monday rainfall brought on by a far north ex-tropical cyclone had basically stopped it in its tracks – but not before 56,000 hectares were razed, 53 homes and countless buildings destroyed, and scores of those living around Coonabarabran evacuated or forced to flee.
Now, localised floodwaters have shut rural roads and kept traffic off the highways. Moree was only reached from the south on Monday – you couldn’t go any other way.
And Pine Ridge, a tiny dot on the black soil plains, recorded its wettest day in 81 years.