ACT News


Canberra heading for January heat record as storms spark fire fears

Canberra is sweltering through what could be its hottest January on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

After hitting a record high of 42 degrees last week, the month’s average could be pushed into the record books, meteorologist Rebecca Kamitakahara said.

“We are on track to exceed our January average for maximum temperatures, which is 28 degrees,” she said.

“Currently our average temperature is sitting in the low 30s, but that of course will be fully evaluated at the end of the month.”

The capital sweltered through its hottest January day on record last week, when the mercury reached 42 degrees on January 18. Ms Kamitakahara said that record was also the second hottest temperature on record, across all months, for Canberra - second only to a maximum of 42.2 degrees recorded on February 1, 1968.

The higher temperatures, coupled with a weak inland low pressure trough, have also caused some isolated thunderstorms throughout the capital region.


“There is another front expected to cross the state late Friday night or early Saturday morning,” Ms Kamitakahara said.

“There is the chance that we will see some increased shower and thunderstorm activity associated with this.”

The expected storms have put firefighters on watch for possible lightning strikes throughout the region.

The dry conditions mean storms can have dangerous consequences, NSW Rural Fire Service member Tim Carroll said.

“Any sort of lightning activity at this time of the year gets our attention,” he said.

“We certainly stay vigilant. Often the Rural Fire Service will arrange to fly an aircraft over those areas the next day to identify any ignitions that may have occurred.”

Mr Carroll said the recent fires throughout the Bungendore and wider Palerang region were started by lightning strikes.

“We had around 15 ignitions in the area directly attributable to lightning,” he said.

“When it occurs, it can be a significant thing.”

Isolated thunderstorms have been predicted for the remainder of the week.

Temperatures in the capital are expected to drop to 29 degrees on Wednesday, before climbing back up to low 30s for the remainder of the week.


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