TAMWORTH and Moree have experienced a month of “unusual” weather conditions in January, while Australia has recorded its hottest month for 80 years.
The nation has sweltered through January with an average maximum temperature of 36.92 degrees Celsius surpassing records set in 1932.
A Bureau of Meteorology spokesperson said January’s weather across the New England North West was “quite an unusual situation”.
“Moree had just six days fall below their January average of 33.7, and the first 19 days at Moree remained above 35 degrees.”
Temperatures reached more than 40 degrees four times in Moree, with Tamworth recording five days above that mark.
There was little reprieve at night as evening temperatures across the region also remained above average, with Mungindi reporting an overnight average of 23.6 degrees, with Narrabri, Gunnedah and Moree not far behind.
Tamworth’s January nights may have been cooler at an average of 19.4, but remained 2.2 degrees warmer than average.
The BOM spokesperson said the later burst of hot weather was due to a low pressure trough which normally moved across Northern Australia being two or three weeks behind schedule this year.
“The monsoon which generally produces heavy cloud was a late arrival this year, and hot air coming from central Australia has affected temperatures over this end.”
In a month which saw temperatures hover 3 degrees above the average of 32.4, Tamworth residents sought refuge in pools, under sprinklers and in airconditioning.
On Saturday, January 12, when the mercury climbed to 42.5 on the gauge at Tamworth Regional Airport, breaking all previous records, there wasn’t much escape from the heatwave conditions.
The following day, the devastating Coonabarabran bushfires began, which saw over 50 homes and properties destroyed.
There were five days in January that recorded temperatures above 40 degrees Celsius,with the monthly rainfall bringing just 85mm to parched soil and thirsty lawns.
Tamworth resident and weather watcher Beryl Flood said in her experience the sticky conditions were not unusual, just a little later than normal.
“Tamworth always has a week of extreme heat around this time, it’s just a matter of when,” Beryl said.
She said people could complain about the heat all they liked but it was a simple case of getting yourself somewhere a bit cooler in days of extreme conditions.
“People are a bit spoiled with airconditioning nowadays. I remember growing up without even a fan.”
“If you can’t beat the heat at home, get yourself to a supermarket.”
But after spending 70 of her 73 years in Tamworth, Beryl reckons she’s got the forecast all stiched up.
“Tamworth is a hot place in winter and a cold place in summer.