Five days of record-breaking temperatures in Australia

Southern Australia, from Perth to Sydney, is only just seeing the back of a big spring heatwave.

    Five days of record-breaking temperatures in Australia
    Temperatures rise and unseasonably hot weather grips southern Australia [AFP]

    After a dismal and cold winter in Australia, temperatures jumped briefly in September, but the spring equinox changed the season with a jump straight to summer. Perth was the first to endure the unseasonably hot weather, which reached 32 degrees Celsius on September 9.

    In the 119 years of record keeping, what Perth experienced was the earliest arrival of spring, marked by temperatures exceeding 30C. But, that was just a teaser, and the temperatures dropped by 10 degrees the very next day.

    Ten days later, Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, recorded its coldest pair of days in 15 years. Hobart, Tasmania, dragged itself up to a mere 10C, five degrees below average.

    Australian meteorological service, Weatherzone, on September 30 said, "Between now and the long weekend, much of Victoria will heat up by 10 to 15 degrees, and then stay about 10 degrees hotter than average for several days - breaking early season heat records.

    "Heating to 10 degrees above average is not unusual for this time of year, but staying that hot for four days and nights is unusual and will be a shock to some.

    "It is effectively an early spring heat wave," the weather service added.

    These were the figures: Adelaide, the first five days of October, ranged from 30 to 35 degrees Celsius. Melbourne, similarly, climbed: 28C, 30C, 31C, 34C, and 35C over the past five days; and today, temperatures stood at 36C.

    Canberra, the country's capital, hit the 30C mark October 4 and is still today around 32C.

    This sort of heat typically does not develop until late October. The last time Melbourne averaged temperatures higher than 28C for five days in a row this early in the season was 101 years ago in 1914.

    This hot spell was as a result of winds turning northwards, dragging heat from the interior. This year, the outback is clearly hotter than normal too, as October 5 was the earliest spring day on record, on which Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane all exceeded 30C.

    However, it is a heatwave, and waves break: Adelaide today managed a meagre 20C.

    A cold front at around 6:30 in the morning swung the wind to a southwestern gust.

    The front went through Melbourne in the late afternoon - tonight and Wednesday will be much cooler as a result.

    The shocking change in the temperature as it drops to around 20C will hit Canberra and Sydney on Wednesday. But the season has changed and, inevitably, the heat will return: Forecasts show that temperatures will reach 30C again before the month is out.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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