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Change promises relief from outback heatwave

By Rick Hind, Thursday January 2, 2014 - 16:17 EDT
ABC image
Hot conditions have extended from central Australia to inland Queensland and north-western New South Wales. - ABC

A heatwave affecting much of inland Australia is expected to break tonight.

But the weather bureau says temperatures will remain high today.

Senior forecaster Graeme King says the hot conditions have extended from central Australia to inland Queensland and north-western New South Wales.

The remote cattle station of Jervois north-east of Alice Springs is expected to reach 46 degrees Celsius today, with temperatures across the Centre in the mid-40s.

He says relief is on the way.

"We will shift that stagnant air-mass tonight and tomorrow, with a change pushing through," he said.

"By the weekend we will be back to average temperatures, mid-30s.

"It will be a welcome relief, too, after this week."

Mr King says overnight minimums across the Northern Territory were in the high 20s overnight, with a near-record minimum of 31C recorded at Yulara.

He says a change pushing through will shift a stagnant air-mass that's lingered over the centre, pushing daytime temperatures into the mid-40s.

"[Temperatures of] 43C, 44C are the norm at places like Territory Grape, Brunette Downs, Alice Springs, Lajamanu, Yuendumu," he said.

"Probably the biggest number I can see [for today] is Jervois, which is going to be 46C."

The top temperature at Alice Springs yesterday reached 43.5C.

The record temperature for Alice Springs of 45.2C was set in 1960.

Cattle properties in the eastern part of central Australia have been reporting stock losses in the hot, dry conditions of the last week.

Jervois, about halfway between Alice Springs and the Queensland border, has just recorded its driest year on record, with 96 millimetres, about a third of its average annual rainfall.

Jo Fogarty from Lucy Creek Station says older cows have died in the past week and there would have been worse losses if the bores were not in good shape.

"Even the flies are sticking close to the house ... thanks to the air-conditioner coming out the windows, I am sure," she said.

"[We are] leaving sprinklers on for the dogs and birds at the moment.

"We are quite lucky we have got a good supply of water at the homestead.

"We are keeping the water up to everything."


- ABC

© ABC 2014

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