Record autumn sizzle a real ice-breaker

ICE BABIES: New Zealand Natural 
Icecream staffers Ellee Wallington and Rochell Wright, back, are all smiles with fan and customer Margot Hobson at the hot sales record for autumn ice creams.  Photo: Barry Smith 280514BSD02

ICE BABIES: New Zealand Natural Icecream staffers Ellee Wallington and Rochell Wright, back, are all smiles with fan and customer Margot Hobson at the hot sales record for autumn ice creams. Photo: Barry Smith 280514BSD02

If you’re thinking it’s still ice cream weather and the summer season has stretched right out, then the experts will tell you it’s not just a record breaker in the books. 

Out on the street, ice cream is still top of the hit list for fans who traditionally tend to melt away into their winter hibernation habits.

But not this month. 

Sales of our favourite ice creams have continued to remain high – just like the temperatures. And yesterday the climatologists confirmed what we’d all thought had happened in Tamworth this autumn.

We’ve had the longest run of tops over 20 degrees Celsius since recordings started at the Tamworth weather station in 1992 – but it could be the most consecutive days over that maximum for the 100 years before that too.

Whatever the official recordings, this May – with three days still left to go – is so far tipping the scales for being among our warmest ever.

Senior climatologist Agata Imielska says it’s certainly been unusually warm – right across the region.

“This May so far is ranking in the top 10 per cent of warmest Mays on record, with only a few days of May to go,” Ms Imielska said. “April was also in the top 10 per cent of warmest Aprils on record for maximum temperatures.” 

Up to early yesterday afternoon Tamworth had recorded 21 consecutive days of 20 degrees or over, but when it got to 24 degrees just after 3pm, it took us to 22 days straight of warm autumn conditions.

Across the north, it’s been a similar story.

Quirindi has set a record with the longest number of tops too – the longest run since 1882 –  while Gunnedah had topped 21 consecutive days above 20 as well.

Ms Imielska says the monthly Tamworth temperatures for April and May were one to two degrees above average.

This year, except for that sudden dive and chilly first weekend in May, we’ve only seen four days when the daytime top temperatures have been below 20 degrees and the nights colder than five degrees.

Monday May 26 saw Tamworth record its warmest top of the month with 25.6 degrees. But while warm, even it doesn’t make the record books. Our hottest May day recorded was back in 1979 when it reached just over 27 degrees.

And the highest minimum so far this month was topped again yesterday when it only dropped as low as 13.7 although the highest minimum ever in Tamworth was just over 17 back in 1973.

If the forecast is correct, then we’ve got another five days before our tops drop below 20 degrees although our overnight lows will sink into the single figures before then too.

But while we’d like to see some rain, not everyone’s complaining about the warm weather. 

Ellee Wallington, from the New Zealand Natural ice creamery in Centrepoint in Tamworth is absolutely loving the long hot autumn.

“I’m praying the warm weather will stick around. It’s great for business but I like it outside too,” she said.

She comes from a famous Tamworth waterbabies family and although she’s been a lifeguard but only swims for recreation now, she’s still stretching out in indoor pools without a shiver from the outdoors. And Ellee admits her mum and dad’s backyard pool did extra duty this year too with an extended summer swim season.

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