Launceston is having its hottest March spell on record as northern parts of Tasmania continue to swelter under near-constant heat, with hot days and very warm nights.
Parts of the Northwest Coast, Northeast and Central North have seen daytime temperatures of up to 10 degrees above average in the last few days. Launceston has already seen four days above 30 degrees, the first time this has occured during March in 82 years of records. On Thursday, it soared to 33 degrees during the hottest March day on record. With the town forecast to reach at least 30 degrees for the next four days, this will go down as the longest run of days over 30 degrees for any month, which currently stands at five.
The hot days have also been followed by very warm nights. Marrawah only got down to 20 degrees last night, making it the hottest March night in 41 years of records. Flinders Island also experienced its hottest March night in 39 years, with a low of 21 degrees.
The unseasonably warm temperatures are being caused by a hot air mass being driven over Tasmania ahead of an approaching front. Unfortunately, most of the state has not experienced any significant rainfall since December which, combined with this warm spell, is bringing heightened fire danger. Humid winds and some showers and thunderstorms should limit the fire potential until Monday, however on Tuesday and Wednesday the winds will shift north to northwesterly and become drier.
The approaching cool change will sweep across the state on Friday, dropping the mercury significantly. The change may and even bring some showers, although totals will only be light.
© Weatherzone 2013
09:52 EDT The Australian research body the Climate Council has argued in its latest paper that the probability of drought will increase, and it will become more severe, because of climate change.