2015 will go down as one of hottest years on record
NEW South Wales has sweltered through one of its hottest years on record despite Bureau of Meteorology figures showing July was the coldest it had been since 1997.
BoM manager of climate monitoring Dr Karl Braganza expected the national average temperature to rank in the top five warmest years on record.
"NSW recorded well above average temperatures during 2015, but rainfall was closer to average," he said.
"The rain came in spite of El Nino and was associated with significant weather events over the cooler months, including very heavy rainfall from east coast lows in late-April and early-May."
The coolest July in 18 years brought snowfall to low altitudes on the Great Dividing Range.
But the year ended with a very dry and warm spring as El Nino took hold.
"Early season heatwaves led to NSW's second warmest spring on record and warmest October on record," Dr Braganza said.
"Perhaps the freakiest weather event in NSW for the year was the tornado in Kurnell in Sydney on December 16.
"Tornadoes are not uncommon in Australia, but it's rare to get one in the city.
"And the gust of 213kmh recorded at Kurnelll is potentially the strongest on record for NSW."
The El Nino became established in May and contributed to the country's warm and dry conditions, strengthening to become one of the strongest such events in the past two decades.
NSW and inland Western Australia were the only two areas to buck the dry trend, due to moisture from a record warm Indian Ocean during winter.
"However, rainfall was well below average elsewhere in the country with drought conditions persisting through inland Queensland, as well as south-west WA."
Dr Braganza said Australia's three warmest springs had occurred in the past three years, with the heat persisting until the end of the year.
He said the heat would continue for most of the country for the next few months.
The bureau will release its official 2015 figures this month. -APN NEWSDESK