Weather News

Weekend heatwave sent records tumbling in SA and NSW ? and it isn't over yet

By Kate Doyle, Tuesday December 1, 2020 - 11:06 EDT
ABC licensed image
Temperatures are going to remain high for a little while longer. - ABC licensed

Well, it's officially summer, although I'm sure many of you will contend that it arrived a few days ago.



The numbers back you up, with records tumbling over the weekend, most notably in South Australia and New South Wales, which registered their hottest November days since records began.

And it's not over yet ? this week may see more records broken in southern Queensland and northern NSW, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

BOM senior meteorologist Dean Narramore said Andamooka in outback South Australia reached 48 degrees Celsius on Saturday, surpassing the 47.9C recorded at Tarcoola on November 30, 1993.

In New South Wales, 46.9C was recorded at the relatively new weather station at Smithville near the SA border, topping the 46.8C at Wanaaring on November 20, 2009.

The Ouyen weather station south of Mildura, with 64 years of data, equalled its own Victorian record of 45.8C.

"We saw 20 sites across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory break maximum temperature records with over 30 years of data," Mr Narramore said.

"For those sites it is probably once-in-a-generation kind of heat for November."



Saturday maximums

Here are some of the locations that broke their November station records on Saturday:


Location Temperature
Andamooka, South Australia ** 48.0C
Marree Airport, South Australia 47.5C
Roxby Downs, South Australia 47.4C
Smithville, New South Wales ** 46.9C
Ouyen, Victoria * 45.8C
Mildura, Victoria 45.7C
Hay, New South Wales 45.5C
Sydney Airport, New South Wales 43.0C
Rutherglen, Victoria 42.6C


** state November record

* equal to state November record



The national record for the hottest November day still holds ? 48.7C at Birdsville in 1990.

Some of these stations only have relatively short records like Smithville, which opened in 2017, while those like Andamooka (opened in 1965) are far more long-running.

Saturday minimums

Here are a few of the locations that broke their overnight November station records on Saturday:


Location Temperature
Birdsville Airport, Queensland 33.2C
Tibooburra, New South Wales 31.3C
Cobar, New South Wales 30.1C
Sydney Airport 26.0C
Newcastle Nobbys, New South Wales 23.7C





According to Mr Narramore, at least 13 sites with at least 30 years of records broke November overnight temperature records.

The warmest overnight temperature ever recorded in Australia in November was 35.0C in 1965 at the Cunnamulla Post Office in Queensland.

Warm overnight temperatures are a key element of a heatwave, as they make it difficult to recover from the heat of the day and make it easier for temperatures to climb the following day.



Sunday maximums

Some of the locations that broke station records on Sunday:


Location Temperature
Walgett, New South Wales 45.0C
Maitland, New South Wales 41.6C
Kempsey, New South Wales 40.1C



Kempsey is right on the coast of northern New South Wales with more than 20 years of data, so 40 degrees there is pretty hot, Mr Narramore said.

It is not just single-day records

Sydney broke 40C on back-to-back days ? 40.8C on Saturday and 40.5C on Sunday.

"This is only the second time in 162 years of records that Sydney Observation Hill has recorded back-to-back 40-degree temperatures," Mr Narramore said.

And that's for any month, not just in November; the previous time was in January 1960.



"It looks like Australia is most possibly on track to have its warmest November on record after a hot month right across the country."

Mr Narramore said spring could also have been one of the warmest on record, but we will have to wait for the numbers to be crunched before we know for sure.

If you thought it was bad in Sydney, spare a thought for Birdsville which has now had four days over 46C, with 47C forecast today.

Monday maximums

Here are some of the locations that broke November station records on Monday:


Location Temperature
Ballera, Queensland 47.0C
Thargomindah, Queensland 46.2C
Roma, Queensland 43.7C
Moree, New South Wales 44.3C
St George, Queensland 45.1C
Dalby, Queensland 41.3C
Inverell, New South Wales 38.6C



It's not over yet

Today will be particularly hot across much of northern and inland New South Wales, and Mr Narramore said we're now likely to see record temperatures for December.

"We're looking to break more records across southern Queensland and northern New South Wales on Tuesday and Wednesday with the next burst of heat, with temperatures up to 48C forecast for places like Bourke and 47C at Birdsville, Walgett and a few others."



Brisbane is forecast to remain in the low to mid 30s for the rest of the week, while Ipswich is expected to reach 36C today before peaking at 41C on Wednesday.

Mr Narramore said numerous locations on the Darling Downs could approach or exceed December records.

The heat is expected to peak on Wednesday for many locations in southern Queensland, reaching 43C in Dalby, 38C in Toowoomba, 43C in Chinchilla and 46C in Goondiwindi ? even Texas on the border with NSW is looking at around 44C.

"That's pretty hot air for that part of the world," Mr Narramore said.

These record temperatures also raise the fire danger, so keep up to date with the latest warmings and follow the advice of your local emergency services.

Take it easy in the sun and check in with those more vulnerable around you.


- ABC

© ABC 2020

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
9News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Community rallies to help homeless camper as Tropical Cyclone Kimi heads for Queensland's coast

13:36 EDT

The Papua New Guinean community is making plans to help a homeless woman camping illegally in a tent on a beach north of Cairns as a cyclone heads for the coastline.

BOM warns Tropical Cyclone Kimi due to make landfall in Far North Queensland tonight

13:14 EDT

Fitzroy Island has been evacuated as Far North Queensland authorities prepare for the second tropical cyclone of the summer, with Cyclone Kimi predicted to make landfall in the area around Cardwell this evening.

Get a sneak peak into the new Weatherzone Beta website experience while we continue to build out its full functionality.
Explore new datasets, map layers, 7-day charts, 12-month trends and much more!