IT IS going to be a hot start to the year, but some respite from the big dry could be on the way.
Tamworth barely had a chance to wipe the sweat from its brow after its hottest year on record in 2018, but the meteorologists have tipped the start of the new year to get pretty toasty in the region.
Weatherzone senior meteorologist Brett Dutschke told the Leader the start of 2019 would see the temperatures continue to climb.
But he also said rainfall figures would move closer to the long-term average.
“The rest of summer, in terms of rainfall, we’ll see a trend getting closer to average,” he said.
“January will probably be a drier-than-average month, but February will more likely be closer to average and possibly be wetter than average.
“It’s looking highly likely to be hotter than average for the rest of the season and the start of autumn will be hotter than average, too.”
The extended hot spell comes after 2018 was declared Tamworth’s hottest year on record, with maximum temperatures climbing almost 2 degrees above the norm.
The nights were also hotter in 2018, averaging 0.3 degrees above the norm.
And the city could be in for much of the same in 2019.
The Bureau of Meteorology seasonal outlook for summer predicted it would be a hot season for much of Australia.
Nights in January through to March are also very likely to be warmer than average across most of Australia, with chances of warmer-than-average nights exceeding 80 per cent in northern and eastern Australia, according to the bureau.
The bureau couldn’t say for certain how much rainfall could be expected through the season.
January to March is likely to be drier than average for WA, parts of the northern NT and eastern mainland Australia.
Weatherzone’s prediction for a wetter-than-average February could come as welcome relief for Tamworth, which had its fourth-driest year on record; rainfall almost 50 per cent down on the long-term mean.
Some minor rainfall has been predicted for the New England North West region in the coming days, but temperatures are tipped to stay quite hot, climbing into the high 30s.