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Brett Dutschke, 22 Oct 2012, 5:22 AM UTC

Central Australia baking in rare October heat

Central Australia baking in rare October heat
Much of central Australia is baking in heat not experienced at this time of year in decades. Temperatures have been reaching the high thirties each day for about a week, the longest it has been this hot at this time of year in more than 20 years. Today is Yulara's eighth day of reaching 35 degrees or more. In more than 20 years of record there hasn't been a longer run of such heat at this time of year. Alice Springs has reached at least 38 degrees in each of the past six days, beating the previous September/October record of four days, most recently set in 2008. Across the border in far southwest Queensland, Birdsville has almost equalled its longest run of 40-degree days for this time of year. Sunday was the fourth day of 40 or more. This is only one day short of the October record of five days, set in 1988. Monday had only reached 39.1 degrees by 2:30pm. Birdsville's records go back to the 1950s. This heat has a few more days to go, at least until Wednesday in Yulara and Alice Springs and until Thursday in Birdsville, when a cooler southerly change is due. This change will drop temperatures by about 10 degrees. Before the cooler change arrives Alice Springs is on target for nine consecutive days of 35 degrees, also a record for this time of year.
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