IF YOU thought it was hot on the weekend, you’d be correct, and Saturday proved to be our hottest day on official record.
The mercury got to a scorching 42.5 degrees at 4.30pm before the heat was eased by a storm at about 6.30pm.
Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Michael Logan said the official maximum was 42.5 degrees, with the previous January record being 41.2 and official records showed the all-time record was 42.2 set on November 19, 1968, although there is some dispute about those tops.
Mr Logan said the temperatures had broken records “on-and-off, here-and-there” for about a week.
He said the heat began to build in Western Australia near Christmas, which has resulted in the very hot temperatures across Australia and and NSW over the last nine days.
The main reason the heat has remained with us is that the monsoon trough, which normally brings some relief to temperatures in the north due to cloud cover and rain, has not come south far enough to reach Australia yet.
“This has allowed an extremely hot air mass to develop over northern Australia and the northerly winds have brought that down ahead of cold fronts coming through,” Mr Logan said.
“The cold fronts haven’t been strong enough to bring significantly cooler temperatures with them, but there is some relief with more normal conditions coming.”
Mr Logan said although yesterday was another hot one – Tamworth reached 40.7 degrees, Moree 42.7 and Narrabri was a scorching 43.2 – there was relief coming today with a top temperature in Tamworth forecast to be 32 degrees.
A southerly was expected last night which would bring temperatures back to a more “normal” level, but there is also the risk of more lightning that has already been responsible for tens of fires around the region.
Mr Logan said today we could expect a shower or two and back to 32, tomorrow should be 32 with cloud, Wednesday 35, Thursday partly cloudy and 36 and Friday showers and 37 for the start of the country music festival.
“Some heat comes back towards the end of the week,” he said.
The heat kept NSW Ambulance paramedics and Rural Fire Service firefighters busy.
In our region, a man and woman were treated for heat-related illnesses – one at Somerton and the other in Gunnedah.
A 68-year-old woman was treated for heat-related illness at Somerton at 11.06am and an 84-year-old man in Gunnedah was treated at 4.16pm.