Weather Wize

Temperatures continue to fall below February averages

By Peter Nelson

During the past week daily maximum temperatures in the northern part of WA have continued to be below the February normals.

The highest temperature so far at Broome since 27th December last, has not yet reached 35 degrees and this is the longest such stretch since 2008 and before that in 1991.

Both those years did see an absence of very hot days in our region during the second half of February and also not much rainfall, but the first half of March saw several hot days of 38 degrees.

Just before last weekend a pool of very hot conditions developed in remote areas of South Australia. At Woomera the temperature last Saturday 10th February reached 45 degrees, almost a record high for February at Woomera.

At the same time well below normal maximum temperatures in Northern WA were still happening .

A very similar situation occurred in February 1963 when the temperature reached 44.7 on 11th February 1963 at Woomera when a long cooler spell was occurring in northern WA.

We were fortunate that this very hot pool of air did not invade our region during last weekend but instead moved across the western inland of NSW where the temperature reached 45 degrees at Wilcannia and also at Ivanhoe.

Exactly the same situation occurred in February 1963 when the temperature reached 44 degrees at Wilcannia on 12th February and only 34 at Wangaratta which it was last weekend as well.

This very hot pool of air then advanced into southern QLD and gave Rockhampton it's hottest February day since 1969, the temperature reaching 41 degrees.

But it's strength is waning now. There was very little rainfall in our region during the second half of February 1963 and the first three weeks of March 1963 apart from isolated light falls at end of February and early March. Heavy rain did arrive on 23rd March in 1963.

The highest temperature was 35 degrees in early March that year. Much the same picture is anticipated in our region the next six weeks including the third successive warmer than normal March in Wangaratta which did previously happen in 1951 to 1953.