Moree records equal hottest day ever

BLAZING: Moree Fire and Rescue struggled to put out a grass fire on the riverbank at Alice Street on Sunday with trees burning throughout the night. Photo: Heidi White.
BLAZING: Moree Fire and Rescue struggled to put out a grass fire on the riverbank at Alice Street on Sunday with trees burning throughout the night. Photo: Heidi White.

Moree recorded its equal hottest day ever on Sunday during NSW’s record-breaking weekend heatwave.

A top of 47.3 was recorded at Moree Airport on Sunday, February 12, equalling that of the all-time high of 47.3, recorded on January 3, 2014.

Sunday’s top temperature smashed the previous February record of 43 which was set on February 21, 2004.

Moree is now one day away from breaking the state record for the most number of consecutive days above 35 degrees.

This photo was taken in Warialda on Sunday.

This photo was taken in Warialda on Sunday.

Mungindi and Walgett are also vying to break Bourke’s record of 50 days of 35 degree plus temperatures which was set in 2012-13.

Tomorrow (Tuesday, February 14) will be Moree’s 50th day above 35, if the current maximum forecast of 36 is correct.

Bureau of Meterology duty forecaster Zach Porter said it could be touch-and-go with a chance that we might fall just short of reaching 35 degrees tomorrow.

“There’s a chance of showers tomorrow, so with increased cloud cover there’s a chance we might not get to 35,” he said.

“It depends on how much cloud cover and showers are around, but if it’s a bit clearer we might get to 35.”

If Tuesday does reach 35, Moree could break the record by a number of days with temperatures in the mid to high 30s forecast for the remainder of the week, climbing to 40 on Saturday.

“It’ll be warming up towards the end of the week but the weather won’t be as extreme,” Mr Porter said.

The extreme heat and strong winds over the weekend led to a number of catastrophic fires across the state.

Moree Rural Fire Service crews had a busy weekend battling small grass fires around the district, including a one-hectare grass fire on the Carnarvon Highway on Sunday evening, which Superintendent Michael Brooks said was believed to be started by lightning.

Moree RFS also sent trucks from Boggabilla and Gurley to help fight the devastating Boggabri fire, which has seen a home and property destroyed.

A firefighter has also been injured in the blaze, which is currently contained.

Mr Brooks praised all firefighters who battled through the tough conditions throughout the weekend.

“Anyone who worked in those conditions did well,” he said.

“They will really struggle for a long time to get over it.”

Meanwhile, Moree Fire and Rescue crews were kept busy attending to small grass fires in town and a number of smoke alarm call-outs.

Between 11am and 4.30pm Sunday they battled a grass fire on the riverbank at Alice Street and were called back multiple times on Sunday night as some of the big trees continued to burn.

“We would just about get it under control and then the wind would pick it up again,” Moree Fire and Rescue captain Scott Campbell said.

“We couldn’t quite get it out in the thick, old hollow trees, so there’ll be a few smouldering logs for the next few days.”

A total fire ban is in place again today, however fire crews are hopeful that the worst is now over.

“The catastrophic conditions on Saturday were unprecedented,” Mr Brooks said.

He reminds all residents to be prepared for fires in all areas, not just in the bush.

“In the conditions that we are experiencing, fires are dangerous in any area and people need to be aware,” he said.

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