Weather 2018: This is your story, Australia
Australians experienced pretty well everything on the weather menu in 2018. (Facebook: Kerrie Brailsford)
The Bureau of Meteorology has released its Annual Climate Statement for 2018, an in-depth review of the weather with detailed analysis for the weather buffs.
If you thought it was hot, you’d be right — 2018 was the third-warmest year on record for the country.
But what do all the facts and figures really mean for those of us who have to live the reality of droughts, bushfires, cyclones, storms, and heatwaves?
Via our Weather Obsessed Facebook group, we asked you to share your stories of the weather in 2018 as seen through your eyes — and you did.
The big dry
It was during 2018 that the drought dug in across much of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and eastern South Australia.
Annual national rainfall was 11 per cent below average overall.
“Goodbye 2018, the year of the big dry,” wrote Jane Hughes of Milora, on Queensland’s Scenic Rim.
“Dry, very dry, bushfires, smoke, storms, but no significant rain, and some of the storms started more fires, more smoke and worse storms.
“The drought has not broken. Let’s hope 2019 breaks a few records the other way.”
Land on fire
In December, unprecedented bushfires in Queensland burnt through more than 1 million hectares, including rainforest.
From Woodgate Bridge, Traci Osbourn urged her fellow Queenslanders to stay safe.
“A very warm and hazy day greeted me this morning,” she wrote.
“With bushfires burning around Queensland, the smoke haze can be seen for miles. Already 31 degrees, with 63 per cent humidity and strong NNE winds up to 26 kph.
“The kangaroos come out early mornings, before it gets too hot, and then find shade for the rest of the day, until the sun goes down, then they venture out again.
“This little group were not in the slightest bit bothered by us walking past. The little joey just as inquisitive as my dog was! Stay Safe Queensland.”
Bushfires also ripped through Tathra and Bega in NSW with several other states facing fire emergencies during the year.
Marble Bar in Western Australia gets the gong for the country’s third-highest December temperature on record with a high of 49.3 Celsius — but it was hot only in the west.
Queensland’s fires coincided with a significant heatwave stretching from northern Western Australia to Adelaide and Melbourne.
On December 28, Peter Hindmarsh was preparing for the heat in Sydney.
“I’m ready for the heatwave, I grew up with a Coolgardie safe, a verandah around the house, a breezeway down the middle, and a canvas water carrier hanging in the shade,” he wrote.
“Tonight I have a wet flannel by the bed and a water mist spray bottle.”
Cyclones and rain
But dust, drought, fire and heat were not all that the weather delivered in 2018 … this is Australia after all.
Cyclones book-ended the year, affecting WA, the Top End and Far North Queensland, bringing heavy rain and flooding.
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Marcus in March was the strongest to pass over Darwin since Tracy in 1974.
But when it comes to breaking records, the Queensland town of Halifax can lay claim to a new December daily rainfall record of 678 millimetres, courtesy of Ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen.
Ruginia Duffy captured what Ex-Tropical Cyclone Nora did to Barron Falls, near Cairns, in March.
How about all that hail?
Hail is a vivid — sometimes painful — reminder of the huge range of weather we experience across Australia.
Lindy Smith was hit by colossal hail at Condell Park in Sydney on December 19.
“I compared the size next to my foot,” she wrote.
“We had 3 different hail events (not sure what you’d call that) within a short time of each other.
“The first hailstorm dropped these and most were this size, thousands of them.
“The sound of them hitting out front porch roof and back patio roof was horrendous.”
For many Australians, 2018’s weather will not be soon forgotten.