Ipswich residents will likely look back on 2019 and remember it as the warmest year since 2013 and one of the driest years since 1938 and it’s no surprise after the persistent hot weather patterns that spread throughout most of the year.
The year kicked off much the same as it ended with January experiencing below average rainfall of 5mm, leaving gardens quite thirsty and in need of wet stuff.
Over the months, the weather continued to play out much the same, with February and March averaging over 32 degree days.
On March 12 the city sweltered through a low intensity heatwave with a new record set for the hottest March day at 41.3 degrees.
To put it in perspective, the mean temperature for March at 9am is 24.2 degrees. It was 30 degrees at the same time on that day.
The region took some time to cool off slightly over April, May, June and July as temperatures averaged in the mid-20s however residents were left wondering when the rain would come.
August was unseasonably dry with 6mm of rain recorded over the city, this was due to one of the strongest positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) events on record.
Rain finally felt with a severe thunderstorm on October 17 which caused residents to go into clean up mode. Wind gusts of 76km/h were recorded, hail reported and 6926 people in Ipswich lost power.
November sweltered and a State of Emergency was declared across 42 local government areas, including Ipswich.
Ipswich was 0.6 degrees away from beating the 47-year hottest December day record as temperatures rose to 43.1 on December 16.
The year closed with more hot and dry conditions across the region and was recorded as almost topping the lowest rainfall on record for December.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) senior forecaster Gabriel Branescu said Ipswich residents suffered through one of the driest December months in history due to the lack of rain.
“For December there was 59.8mm of rain and that is the lowest on average,” he said.
“As a whole it was the driest season ever with hotter than usual temperatures.”
Looking ahead for 2020, Ipswich can expect to feel a bit of relief as cooler weather and rain is forecast this weekend and is likely to stick around.
“There’s an increasing chance of showers and storms on Saturday night and into Sunday with double digits of rainfall forecast in the Ipswich area,” Mr Branescu said.
“We’re seeing 36 on Saturday then on Saturday night and Sunday the temperatures are expected to drop 2 degrees or so.
“The onset weather is forecast to continue with Tuesday and Wednesday next week coming back close to average temperatures.”
Due to the effects of the positive IOD and the negative Southern Annular Mode (SAM) it’s likely the region will experience the warm weather for a bit longer.
BOM senior climatologist Robyn Duell said there is some good news on the horizon for residents in Ipswich over the coming months.
“These drivers are now starting to weaken, but the not so good news is the effects of these drivers are likely to linger a bit longer this year,” she said.