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Records tumble in blistering heatwave

Ben McBurney, Saturday January 4, 2014 - 11:38 EDT

An intensely hot air mass has caused heat records to fall in parts of the nation over the past few days, as temperatures near 50 degrees.

While the big 50 degree mark has not yet been officially recorded, it has gotten extremely close with temperatures exceeding 49 degrees.

Tarcoola in South Australia was one of the first places to endure the intense heat, reaching 48.9 degrees on Wednesday, its hottest day on record. Coober Pedy hit a sizzling 47.4 degrees, its hottest January day on record, and for any month since December 1972.

By Thursday, the heat was turned up a notch as Moomba in the northeast of SA hit an unbearable 49.3 degrees, just 0.3 degrees short of its record. Alice Springs also fell just short of its all-time record climbing to 44.9 degrees, its fourth hottest on record.

Records did fall elsewhere though on Thursday. Camooweal in Queensland hit 46.0 degrees, its hottest January day on record, while Tibooburra in New South Wales saw its hottest day in more than 100 years of records reaching 48.4 degrees.

Friday was really the day for history books though, as records tumbled over NSW, QLD and the Northern Territory.

In NSW, Walgett saw its hottest temperature in at least 110 years as it hit a scorching 49.1 degrees, while Moree and Narrabri obliterated their previous all-time records by around three degrees, reaching 47.3 and 47.8 degrees respectively. Inverell hit 41.1 degrees, and Tamworth 45.1 degrees, also all-time records.

In QLD, St George and Roma both saw their hottest day on record reaching 47.2 degrees and 45.8 degrees respectively, while Tennant Creek in the NT also saw an all-time record hitting 45.6 degrees.

Further records are expected to fall today as the hottest air gets focused over eastern QLD. Nambour's forecast of 41 degrees will be a new record for the town, while Brisbane's western suburbs should reach 43-44 degrees, putting records in serious danger.

Brisbane itself is expected to hit 41 degrees, heat not experienced in the city since 2004.

While the air mass will begin to become a little cooler and contract further inland from Sunday, western parts of QLD will still be sweltering with Longreach on track to endure 10 straight days of 43 degree heat, a record for the site.

By mid-week, the air mass will finally break down with temperatures returning closer to average over the nation's east. However, over Western Australia a new wave of heat will be underway, with temperatures likely to reach into the mid-to-high 40s in the state's north.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2014

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