Summer ends without a simmer
By HANNAH ROSS
SUMMER finished yesterday much as it had started.
It was overcast, blustery and local temperatures reached no higher than the 26 degrees recorded at Casino.
So much for summer.
Northern Rivers residents accustomed to sweltering through the summer months can feel justifiably annoyed they missed out on their usual fix of beach days this year.
During the month of January, temperatures across the region were well below average, in contrast to other parts of New South Wales, where temperatures followed a steady trajectory of slight temperature rises.
In Casino, the mean temperature was 28.6 degrees, 2.7 degrees lower than average for that time of year.
And what about the rain!
The floods that struck the region in early January were just part of the picture. The wet stuff continued to drop at a steady rate throughout the whole summer period.
Some local areas recorded their highest-ever rainfalls.
Green Pigeon, to the west of Casino, recorded its highest-ever January rainfall. It was inundated with 819.2 mm. The next highest rainfall in 40 years of records was 743.6mm back in 1974.
Mallanganee also recorded its highest January rainfall 358.8mm.
Farmers and tourism operators found every reason to complain about the endless rain. Flooding wiped out a number of local crops and led to stock losses, while the endless grey skies kept visitors away from coastal areas. Both groups applied for State Government funding to assist with rain-related losses.
But not everyone is complaining about the rain.
Rous Water is reporting there are no water restrictions in place.
The regional water supply, Rocky Creek Dam, is at 100 per cent capacity, a big jump from August last year when the dam was at 55 per cent capacity.
Among those benefiting from a wet summer were nursery owners, Landcare groups, indoor sports centres, cinemas, lawn mower shops and gardeners.
Bangalow resident Jason Keilor, who planted a stand of native trees on his property in September, said the summer had been the best-ever growing season.
"Our trees have shot up about three feet in as many months," he said.
"We may be withering away due to lack of sun, but the trees are loving it!"