The Bureau of Meteorology have confirmed what most people in Australia already knew, 2017 was extremely hot.
The third hottest year on record according to the Bureau’s recently released Annual Climate Statement.
Head of Climate Monitoring, Dr Karl Braganza, said the national mean temperature was 0.95 degrees warmer than the 1961–1990 average.
"Despite the lack of an El Niño—which is normally associated with our hottest years—2017 was still characterised by very warm temperatures. Both day and night-time temperatures were warmer than average; particularly maximum temperatures, which were the second-warmest on record,” he said.
Average daytime temperatures across the country were up by 1.27 degrees on average, making them the second highest on record, while alarmingly, seven of the hottest ten years on record have occurred since 2005.
Locally last January was the hottest on record for the region, with Moree recording 54 days above 35 degrees, the longest stretch in the history of NSW, and Tamworth wasn’t far behind, breaking a 13 year record after temperatures of 45.9 degrees were recorded as the hottest on record.
The city is on already on track again this year, with 10 of 12 days of January recording maximum’s above 35 degrees, with two of those days breaching 40 degrees, with an average of 36.1, some 4.1 degrees above long term averages.
Meanwhile minimum temperatures are also above average, with only six of the 12 nights to date dropping below 20 degrees to record an average of 19.6 degrees, 2.1 above average.
The Bureau suggests that there is very little reprise in sight either, although are forecasting a slightly cooler, and wetter, than average February and March, although not by much.
While temperatures are forecast to drop to the low 30’s early next week, Festival goers and residents are all bracing for the next heatwave, set to peak on Friday when a run of temperatures hovering around the 40 degree mark is expected to hit again.
Hunter New England Health physician Kat Taylor said that the emphasis needs to be on prevention, and is very simple.
“Stay hydrated, and avoid the heat of the day however you can,” she said.
Symptoms of heat stroke
Hunter New England Health are putting out warnings and “keeping an eye” on extreme weather conditions as Festival goers begin flooding into the city before next Friday’s official start.
HNEH Public Health Physician Kat Taylor said that “it is something we keep close tabs on.”
“It has been pretty average so far this year, although in the week up to Christmas we saw a significant increase in heat related presentations at the hospitals.”
Heat related illness can also set off any underlying health issues, particularly in the elderly, and Dr Taylor urges people to watch out for each other during periods of extreme weather.
“Thirst, feeling a bit ordinary and dizziness are fairly common for hot weather, although severe dehydration is very serious.”
“Symptoms of severe heat stroke include nausea, vomiting, fainting and the inability to sweat or pass urine.”
“The body essentially shuts down and you lose the ability to regulate body temperature – serious abnormalities that could be deadly.”