Australia swelters through hottest day on record


Australia has recorded its hottest average temperature across the whole country on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at 40.9 °C (105 °F), beating the previous record of 40.3 °C (104 °F) set on January 7, 2013. Meteorologists are attributing a very strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole as the source of the heat.

"This hot air mass is so extensive, the preliminary figures show that yesterday was the hottest day on record in Australia, beating out the previous record from 2013 and this heat will only intensify," said meteorologist Diana Eadie in a video statement on Wednesday, December 18.

Temperatures soared to 47.7 °C (118 °F) in Birdsville, Queensland. In Mandora, Western Australia and in southern and central Australia, temperatures reached 46.9 °F (116 °F).

The hottest temperature recorded in Australia was 50.7 °C (123 °F) in January 1960 at Oodnadatta, a desert settlement in the outback, South Australia.

Sizzling temperatures and strong winds are also fanning bushfires around the country, including over 100 blazes in New South Wales where heat and haze have caused an increase in hospital admissions.

Meteorologists are expecting December heat records to be broken, putting emergency crews on alert including firefighters, ambulance, and paramedics. Total fire bans were issued for NSW and South Australia.

In South Australia, a fire ban was issued for eight districts, as well as an extreme fire danger warning for three districts including the Yorke Peninsula, Mount Lofty Ranges, and the Lower South East.

In Victoria, residents braced for scorching temperature as it is forecast to reach 40 °C (104 °F) or hotter on Wednesday. The state may see its hottest December day on Friday if centers in the northwest reach a forecast of 47 °C (116.6 °F).

"We're expecting a lot of December records to be challenged, particularly in the northwest, north-central Victoria some parts of northwest Victoria may get very close to records for any time of the year," said Climatologist Dr. Blair Trewin.

"That's only happened once before in 1939 so it is certainly a very significant heatwave, particularly for December."

In New South Wales, the temperature will reach around 36 °C (96.8 °F) in portions of Sydney, and hit 44 °C (111.2 °F) on Thursday, December 19.

Cooler weather will be felt on Friday, December 20, but Saturday, December 21, will see hotter conditions again with swaths of the state including Sydney's suburbs to experience 45 °C (113 °F) or hotter.

Canberra will also face major heatwave and high fire dangers as 42 °C (107.6 °F) is expected to hit on Saturday.

In Queensland, heat is forecast to build over the course of the week, although inland areas are likely to experience temperatures over 40 °C (104 °F).

Perth will remain cool with a top of 34 °C (93.2 °F), although long-range forecast predicts a temperature of 40 °C (104 °F) on December 25.

The Northern Territory, on the other hand, may experience possible thunderstorms for the rest of the week. Although the storm has changed direction as of Wednesday, the Bureau of meteorology urged people to "keep an eye on the warnings as the situation evolves during the remainder of the evening."

Featured image credit: Earth.Nullschool.Net Acquired December 17, 2019.

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One Comment

  1. People that follow Australian BOM are stating that their government has removed all temperature records from before 1950 stating the readings taken back then were up with today’s standards! LIARS they be eh! ! @ ! @ !!! Shalom

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