AUSTRALIA is once again suffering through an intense January heatwave.
While not as significant as last year’s event, which smashed records for consecutive days above 35 degrees in areas straddling the NSW-Queensland border, such as Moree and Goondiwindi, many centres are set to record one of their hottest Januarys on record.
Richard Carlyon, duty forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology, said centres in northern Victoria such as Mildura and Horsham were markedly hotter than average.
Mildura’s average maximum temperature for January up until Tuesday sat at just under 36, compared to a 2001 record of 37.1 while Horsham’s average was 32.8, below the 34 also set in 2001.
And Mr Carlyon said these averages would be bolstered by another heatwave set to have Victorians sweltering from late in the week through the weekend.
However, he said a change early next week meant neither centre was likely to break the record.
Much of inland Australia will cop the heat again later in the week.
Mr Carlyon said the heatwave was a repeat of the weather that caused temperatures to push into the mid 40s on Friday in Victoria and South Australia and Sunday in Queensland and NSW.
“The heat never really cleared out,” he said.
“The weak cold front last week that brought some relief to the high temperatures never really pushed the hot air away.”
This time, unlike the previous run of hot days, there is relatively high humidity which may lead to afternoon thunderstorms, although temperatures will remain high right through the weekend.
However, Mr Carlyon said this time people were likely to see some true relief from the hot weather, particularly in SA, Tasmania, Victoria and southern NSW.
“We’ll get a gradual easing from the very hot temperatures with a showery change on Sunday, then by Tuesday there will be a punchy change with an accompanying southerly wind that drops the temperatures significantly.”
Mr Carlyon said there was the potential for moderate tallies out of the change, in particular in Tasmania and eastern Victoria.
He said the sustained bursts of heat were consistent with summer La Niña weather events.
While many people were expecting the current La Niña event to lead to above average rainfall through eastern Australia, its most publicized feature, Mr Carlyon said La Niña summer events were also correlated with periods of high heat.
Meanwhile, the Climate Council has issued a report claiming the world has experienced its hottest five year period from 2013 to 2017.