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Extreme heat sets Canberra in its sights

Scott Morris, Sunday December 15, 2019 - 12:44 EDT

A hot airmass sitting over the country is continuing to spread, having already turned up the temperature in WA, with SA next in its sights. Canberra should be next up to feel the rising temperatures.

The long term maximum average for December in the Canberra Airport site is 26 degrees, but Canberra is already starting to feel temperatures far beyond that. Daytime temperatures have reached above 35 degrees already this month on Tuesday 10th when the mercury topped at 38 degrees. For comparison, 2018 only reached above 35 degrees on the 27th of December, while 2017 and 2016 had no days above 35 degrees in December.

The worst is still to come for Canberra with a string of four consecutive days above 35 degrees on the horizon. Between Wednesday and Saturday in the upcoming week, the lowest maximum is expected to be 38 degrees. The peak of the heat should come on Saturday, with temperatures possibly reaching a sweltering 42 degrees. Thursday's predicted 41 degree maximum is nothing to be scoffed at either. If either of these days reaches the forecast maximum, it would be the hottest December day for the Canberra Airport site. Only two other times has the temperature reached above 39 degrees for this site (in 1994 and 2009).

Furthermore, if all four of these days hit above 38 degrees it would certainly be the largest number of consecutive days in December above 38 degrees for the Canberra Airport site. Currently the most consecutive days above 38 degrees in December stands at two, set in 1994.

For those looking for cooler temperatures, a weak cool change does give hope for the start of next week. Still, with the warm airmass these maximums should come in well above average for this time of year and could last beyond this first week.

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