Monday, August 24, 2009

Hot August nights set Australian records

As one can see these hornbags have coped very well with impending dramatic climate change, sending temperatures soaring everywhere.

Australia is having a winter day of extremes as temperatures peak, winds whip, and fire threatens.

Brisbane sweltered through its hottest August day ever, while strong cold winds howled through the southern states.

The record day temperatures and strong winds in the north have fire authorities on high alert, while night temperatures have also been unusually warm.

Brisbane's August maximum temperature record of just under 33 degrees Celsius was smashed as the temperature soared to 35.4 degrees at 4.20pm (AEST) on Monday.

And the high temperatures are set to continue.

"It's an unusual event for August," Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) weather forecaster Janine Yuasa told AAP.

The hottest temperature in Queensland, according to the BoM, was 36.4 degrees at Amberley, west of Brisbane, and in the state's northwest Mount Isa reached 35.7 degrees.

"The highest minimum we've ever had in August was 17.8 back in 1950, if we get 18 degrees (on Monday night) it will be the warmest night on record so far," Ms Yuasa said.

In Canberra, 12 degrees also set a new record for the hottest August night.

Meanwhile, in Sydney a cold front expected for Monday night is in stark contrast to the previous evening when the mercury remained above 20 degrees - double the average August minimum of 8.9 degrees.

Evans Head, on the NSW north coast, recorded the state's top daytime temperature at 36.8 degrees.

Sydney's maximum temperature of 25.4 degrees was recorded just before 10am (AEST) on Monday before gales brought the temperature down along with trees and roofs in Sydney's west.

Gusts of more than 80km/h were recorded at Sydney airport and Badgery's Creek, and more than 2,300 Sydney homes were left without power.

The northeast of NSW is expected to remain hot.

Meanwhile, Victorians have been asked to be storm-ready as the state braces for three days of damaging winds and rain.

A severe weather warning has been issued and wind gusts up to 110km/h are predicted as a cold front moves across Victoria.

Hundreds of South Australian homes have lost power, as strong winds and steady rain batter the state.

After gusts of almost 100km/h blew across the state, BoM duty forecaster Simon Ching said SA had overcome the worst of the wild weather and that he expected the winds to ease.

Tuesday would remain windy, Mr Ching told AAP.

A combination of global warming and El Nino have climate experts predicting this year could be Australia's warmest in more than a decade.

BoM climatologist Karl Braganza said the temperatures this week had been very unusual with temperatures about 10 to 15 degrees above average, breaking many records.

"Some of the locations in parts of Queensland and northern NSW are recording some of the warmest temperatures in 2009 so far, including summer, so it's really quite extraordinary," Mr Braganza told AAP.

"The two factors precipitating these warmer temperatures are global warming and the El Nino in the Pacific at the moment ... when combined together lead to record temperatures.

"What's happening in the north is extraordinary ... we're smashing the August records."

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