Cairns region's weather has all the extremes
IT is no secret the Far North is a region of extremes when it comes to things of a climatic nature and 2012 was no different.
From the wettest March in nearly a decade to the driest December since 2005, the year only reinforced the fact that forecasting in the area is tricky.
Just one cyclone made any real impact on the region when Cyclone Grant crossed Cape York after making its way across from the Northern Territory. Cyclone Jasmine formed in the Coral Sea but the closest it came to the coastline was 1200km.
It was the year when La Nina, which fuelled Cyclone Yasi in 2011, came to an end.
An El Nino took over briefly, with meteorologists' wet season predictions somewhat underwhelming for avid weather watchers.
More than 900mm fell in Cairns through March, with the wettest day being March 20, when 158.6mm fell.
It caused chaos on Cairns roads, with the Captain Cook Highway blocked and the Gillies Range closed for a week after a giant boulder tumbled on to the road.
On the other end of the spectrum, August's falls were sparse, with just 5.8mm recorded in Cairns.
In total, 2002mm fell in the city throughout the year, making it the driest one since 2007.
"Nothing (cyclone-wise) really crossed the east coast itself so it was a fairly quiet season for the Coral Sea and the Queensland coast, but we still got good rainfall, particularly in March, which helped us get to about average," Cairns duty forecaster Andrew Cearns said.
"Temperatures were generally around average, most months were within a degree or two of average."
The hottest day of the year in Cairns was February 7 when the temperature hit 34.9C.
The coldest day was 9.8C on August 12.
Mareeba and District Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association president Joe Moro said the dry conditions of November and December last year were good for harvesting.
"Some crops have some heat damage but overall I would say it hasn't had much of an impact," he said. "It just means farmers have had to irrigate a lot more."
Sydney couple Jonathan Mainey and Sylvia Kulski cooled off at Mossman Gorge yesterday as the temperature peaked at 32C.
The pairmade the most of the region's watering holes during a five-day visit to the Far North.
"The weather's been good, though it's been a little bit humid," Mr Mainey said.
"But the water (at Mossman Gorge) was nice and refreshing."
Cairns and the Tableland are expected to reach 34C today, with possible showers on the weekend.
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Refreshing dip: Sylvia Kulski and Jonathan Mainey of Sydney at Mossman Gorge. Picture: STEWART McLEAN