Finally, the wet season is in sight in northern Australia, but the southern heatwave waxes and wanes.
Fulfilling the forecast promise, Perth, in Australia’s west, has beaten a 122-year-old temperature record. On Saturday, the thermometer reached 40.4 degrees Celsius (104.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in the city and was even higher at the airport. This beats the previous record for this month, indeed for the whole of spring, set in 1897.
In fact, of the highest temperatures reported worldwide on Saturday, all 10 were reported in Australia. Topping the table at 45.9C (114.6F) was Marble Bar, also in Western Australia in the Pilbara region.
While the forecast for the following week is cooler for Perth, it is not so for the rest of Western Australia or Southern Australia. By Wednesday, the heat will have crept around to Adelaide where the forecast is for 42C (107.6F). November’s standing record for Adelaide is 43C (109.4F). The average is 27C (80.6F).
The fire season started early this year after a dry winter in New South Wales and the results here and in Queensland have been well-documented. The risk of fires in Western Australia is likely to be higher this season too. Temperatures are already high and the major controlling influence on rain, the Indian Ocean dipole, is in the wrong phase for Western Australian rain.