Hunter weather: March rainfall close to breaking averages, in contrast to an intense summer | poll

HANGING LOW: Shelf cloud over Pulbah Island, near Wangi Wangi. Picture: Jason Gordon

HANGING LOW: Shelf cloud over Pulbah Island, near Wangi Wangi. Picture: Jason Gordon

THE change in season isn’t lost on Boolaroo’s “Mooranda the cow”. In fact, all this weather has her head spinning, right into some knee-high grass.

HOLY COW: Boolaroo’s “Mooranda the cow” revels face-first in lush long grass, as the start of autumn brings continued rainfall to the Hunter after a dry summer. Picture: Simone De Peak

HOLY COW: Boolaroo’s “Mooranda the cow” revels face-first in lush long grass, as the start of autumn brings continued rainfall to the Hunter after a dry summer. Picture: Simone De Peak

The heavens have opened on the Hunter, with the region well on its way to breaking March rainfall averages after weeks of short but intense bursts of rain.

The turnaround in the region’s fortunes come just a month after the state sweltered through an extreme heatwave, bringing with it 45-degree plus temperatures and the “worst possible” fire conditions ever faced in NSW.

As of 9am on Thursday, total recorded rainfall at the Nobbys weather station since the start of March was 91 millimetres – just 27 millimetres shy of the monthly average.

Elsewhere in the Hunter, according to Bureau of Meterology figures, Maitland (Tocal) recorded 112.8 millimetres; Williamtown 111.2mm; Murrurundi 72.6mm; Merriwa 71.6mm; Cessnock 66.4mm; and Scone 54.8mm.

“The Hunter is getting some pretty good falls,” Weatherzone meteorologist Kim Westcott said on Thursday.

“It hasn’t been particularly warm for March, so it’s kept a lid on those temperatures, and we’re well over halfway to breaking some of those monthly averages.”

Hunter Water is also celebrating the first bump in water storage levels in four months. Since March, water storage across all four dams increased by 1 per cent to 76 per cent full, which is about 2766 megalitres of additional water.

“The increase that we’ve had is the first since November last year,” Hunter Water spokesman Nick Kaiser said.

“We had 109 days without the water storage going up by anything at all.”

JUST WAITING: Some seagulls wait and watch as dark clouds roll over near Nobbys. Picture: Simone De Peak

JUST WAITING: Some seagulls wait and watch as dark clouds roll over near Nobbys. Picture: Simone De Peak

And there may be more to come for the Hunter’s water supply, with the bureau forecasting a high chance of rain for the remainder of this week and next week.

A dumping of up to 130 millimetres of rain is forecast for Newcastle on Friday and Saturday.

One man hoping for region-wide rainfall is Halton cattle grazier Peter Lawrence, whose property on the foothills of Barrington Tops was scorched by the summer heat.

Mr Lawrence said about 100mm of rain had fallen on his property since the beginning of March.

“It’s helped, but it’s got a long way to go,” he said.

“The biggest advantage we’ve got is that its kept the extreme heat away. We’re back to more reasonable temperatures.”

As for how long it will take to recover, Mr Lawrence said: “Some of this country is 12 months away.”

In Newcastle, a maximum of 23 degrees is predicted for Friday, with a top of 24 degrees expected for the city on Saturday.

WALK THE LINE: Walking the dog into the dark and ominous. Picture: Simone De Peak

WALK THE LINE: Walking the dog into the dark and ominous. Picture: Simone De Peak

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