GREY skies, daytime temperatures that barely reached double digits, a big dump of rain, minor flooding and washed-out sporting events.
Yes, it’s the middle of winter and didn’t we know it at the weekend.
The region shivered in the cold and, on top of a four-day deluge yielding between 60mm and 80mm of rain, many opted to batten down, as rivers rose and only the hardiest of sportsmen and women braved the elements.
Armidale and Glen Innes recorded daytime minimums yesterday of 10 and 11 degrees Celsius respectively, with Scone, Tamworth, Narrabri and Inverell getting to 14 degrees.
Armidale, Tamworth, Inverell and Moree recorded more than 80mm of rain for the four days to 9am yesterday, while Scone, Gunnedah and Narrabri had 60mm or more.
The rain and the cold led to the cancellation or postponement of many sporting events, including Saturday’s Tamworth races.
Only two of eight Northern Inland Premier League (soccer) matches were played, and the Tamworth Swans versus New England Nomads AFL match at No 1 Oval was cancelled.
North Tamworth Bears were saved a trip to Moree to play the home side in the Group 4 rugby league fixture at Boughton Oval.
The Central North Rugby Union went ahead as scheduled but it was a hard slog, especially for cellar-dwellers Tamworth and Barraba, who took to a sodden Tamworth Rugby Park in a match that had little bearing on the race for the top four.
But the rain was welcome respite for many, including those on the land, and caused only some inconvenience, with minor to moderate localised flooding across the region.
A break in the weather yesterday could mean Tamworth avoids any flooding – at least for the next few days. Weather Channel presenter Duane Strauss yesterday said no rain was forecast for the North West Slopes and Plains for today or tomorrow, but that isolated showers could be expected on Wednesday.
Today’s temperature in Tamworth will reach a comparatively balmy 18 degrees, while tomorrow it will be 19 degrees. Tamworth Regional Council said late last Friday that only two roads – the William St crossing at Barraba, and Burgmanns Lane near Tamworth – were closed due to flooding.
There was an unconfirmed report yesterday that Burgmanns Lane had reopened. On Saturday a flood warning was issued for Tamworth, with the Bureau of Meterology forecasting the Peel River at Tamworth would peak near the minor flood level of three metres at the Tamworth Bridge.
At 2.30pm on Saturday the river was at 2.75m and rising, but by midnight it had fallen to 1.47m and was steady.
By 4pm yesterday the Peel River at Tamworth was 1.3m and steady.
But the Namoi Region office of the State Emergency Service was taking no chances: it said yesterday that equipment and livestock should be moved to higher ground in the Namoi catchment.
“Even though rain has ceased, there are strong flows in the Namoi River and its tributaries, so there is still a risk that low-lying farmlands and roads across the Namoi Valley may be inundated,” the SES said.
At 4pm yesterday, the Mooki River at Breeza was at 4.3m and the level was steady, causing moderate flooding (the major flood level is 4.8m).
A minor flood warning was issued for the Namoi River near Wee Waa yesterday about noon.
The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that a flood height of 5.3m will be reached at Wee Waa some time tomorrow, causing minor flooding, particularly along Blackgate Creek, Vera’s Leap and Trindals Lane.
At 4pm yesterday, the level of the Namoi River at Wee Waa was 3.4m and rising.
At 4pm yesterday, Narrabri Creek at Narrabri was three metres and rising.
At the forecast height of 5.3m for the Namoi River near Wee Waa, a number of rural roads in these areas may be affected by floodwater or be impassable, the SES says.
Wee Waa farmers and residents in low-lying areas should secure pumps and other equipment and move livestock to higher ground.
Property owners in the outlying areas of Wee Waa should consider stocking up on non-perishable food, medicine or pet food, should further rises in the flood level occur, the SES warned.
Thunderbolts Way between Uralla and Inverell remained closed late yesterday due to flooding.