Climate at the Beef Industry Centre, Armidale
Armidale is located on the New England Plateau in northern New South Wales about midway between Sydney and Brisbane at an altitude ranging from 970 metres at the floor of the valley to 1070 metres above sea level at the crests of the hills. It has a cool temperate climate with the majority of rain falling in the summer months. Winters are dry, cold and frosty with the occasional snowfall. Summer days are warm but nights are usually cool. Winds are easterlies during summer and autumn, and dry westerlies during winter and spring. Average annual rainfall is 788 millimetres.
Summers are characterised by warm to very warm days followed almost always by cool, sometimes cold, nights. Thunderstorms often produce heavy falls of rain and occasionally hail in the afternoons and early evenings, also bringing a sudden drop in temperature to provide relief after a hot summer's day. Unlike nearby coastal areas, Armidale does not usually experience high humidity levels making most of the summer days quite comfortable. Temperatures exceed 30oC on average of 13 days per year, but rarely reach higher than 35oC.
The autumn season is described by many as the best time of year in Armidale. As the leaves turn yellow and fall, day temperatures are mostly still warm, particularly in March and April. Days are sunny, the thunderstorm season is over, and rain becomes more sporadic. Nights become colder, and residents often awake to a thick fog blanketing the Armidale valley, but by 9am the fog has cleared to be followed by a bright sunny day. The first frosts of the year usually occur in April, but are not particularly severe.
Winters are cold and bracing. Overnight temperatures often drop below -5oC with a thick white frost on the ground, and occasionally as low as -10oC. These cold frosty mornings are usually followed by sunny days, but beware of the wind. Day temperatures may make it as high as 16oC, but sometimes may not climb beyond 10oC. These are the true New England winter days with biting westerly winds, bleak grey clouds, and showers of rain and occasionally snow. Rainfalls during the winter months are usually light.
In spring temperatures are milder, although early morning frosts still continue well into October. September is usually a cool windy month, and by late October the thunderstorm season is starting with increasing rainfalls. The spring months produce the most variable weather of the year. A week of warm sunny weather can be followed by several cold days with temperatures right back at winter levels before gradually warming up again. This cycle often repeats itself many times right through until the start of summer.
(Information provided by Peter Burr, University of New England)