ACT News

License article

Wetlands bone-dry as heat begins again for ACT

There's more heat on the way for the nation's capital, with at least five days over 35 degrees in the next week and Canberra almost certain to experience its driest January since 1985.

With just 5mm of rainfall this month so far, the Jerrabomberra Wetlands are bone-dry and most of the local birds have left.

No more rain is expected before the beginning of February at least.

The heat is expected to begin again on Wednesday, with the ACT forecast to have at least five days over 35 degrees in a row over the next week.

Weatherzone meterologist Rob Sharpe said the coming heat wave has the potential to break further temperature records in the ACT.

"This one looks like it could be consistently over 35 degrees for a longer period, just not near 40. It’ll still feel pretty darn hot and be pretty similar to the last spell, in terms of how uncomfortable as a whole [heat wave] will be," he said.


Temperatures are expected to peak in Canberra on Saturday, with a maximum of 39 degrees and a minimum of 18.

Tuesday will be the last day below 35 degree for the foreseeable forecast.

Mr Sharpe said there was a possibility the heat could ease on Monday week, but he wasn't holding his breath.

"There’s no source of moisture for the next week and half in the Canberra area at least. It’ll be a while before we see some cooler and wetter weather move through the Canberra area."

As a result of the recent extreme conditions, the Jerrabomberra Wetlands out near Fyshwick have completely dried up due to the high temperatures and low rainfall.

Canberra has had just 5mm of rainfall this month so far, barely a tenth of the average rainfall for January and only 4mm above the record low.

It is likely to be the driest January since 1985, when the city had just 3mm of rain.

Normally a thriving colony of waterbirds, only a few snipe remained in the dried out swamp areas on Monday.

RSPCA acting CEO and bird-watcher Jane Gregor said it was the driest she had seen the wetlands in months.

"It got this dry round about July or August... But it was good because they had a lot of carp in here and they needed to clean them out, so last time it was really beneficial," she said.

"But it was less beneficial this time."

Ms Gregor said there when she had been down to the wetlands just a few weeks ago there had been eight or nine pelicans, two species of spoonbills, ducks galore and water everywhere.

Now there was barely 10 per cent of birds left in the area.

"Most weekend you'd come down and there'd be lots and lots of people, but now there's no water," she said.

"It's the dry lands rather than the wet lands."


Comment are now closed