August and September are typically months of warming but central and northern Australia is scorching through its hottest weather this early in the season in many years.
Alice Springs reached 38 degrees Thursday, 10 degrees above average and its hottest day this season. This is its hottest September day in nine years and the hottest it has been this early in the season in 70 years of records.
Also today in far western Queensland Birdsville hit 40 degrees, the earliest in the season it has reached 40 since 1968.
Further north, Mt Isa got to 38 degrees, seven above average. The last time it had a hotter day this early in the season was in 1998, when it reached 39 degrees on the 14th of September.
In western New South Wales, Cobar had its hottest day this early in the season in 13 years, exceeding 32.5 degrees.
It wasn’t just inland areas which got unusually hot. Cairns on the northern tropical coast had its warmest September day in nine years, reaching 31.5 degrees.
This heat arrived early this season due to the reduction of moisture and cloud over the northern and central Australia compared to the last few years.
Relief from this heat will not arrive until Sunday for Alice Springs and Birdsville and Monday for Cobar and Mt Isa, when a reasonably strong southerly change arrives. Cairns will be too far out of reach for this change and is likely to stay warmer than its 28-degree average for at least another week.
With the cooler change a few days away in central Australia, Alice Springs is on target to equal the September record of five consecutive 35-degree days, set in 2003.