First 40-degree heatwave of 2019: Moree set for four days above 40 degrees as weather heats up

BEATING THE HEAT: Laura Penfold, Ashlyn Tape and Maddy Penfold kept cool in the pool at Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre in January 2018.
BEATING THE HEAT: Laura Penfold, Ashlyn Tape and Maddy Penfold kept cool in the pool at Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre in January 2018.

Moree residents will be looking for any way to beat the heat this week as the town buckles down for its first 40-degree spell of 2019.

Moree’s first 40-degree day of 2019 was recorded on Sunday, which reached a top of 40.5.

Monday and Tuesday won’t be much cooler, with maximum temperatures set for 38 and 39 respectively before a four-day 40-degree heatwave hits on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a top of 41 for Wednesday, while Thursday is set to be a scorching 42 degrees.

Friday and Saturday are also predicted to be hot, with tops of 41. Sunday won’t be much cooler, with a maximum of 39 forecast.

There won't be much relief overnight as minimum temperates remain in the mid to high 20s throughout the week.

The week’s forecast continues another warm start to a new year, with temperatures averaging 37 so far this month.

December saw two days reach highs above 40 – 40.9 degrees was recorded on Thursday, December 20, while Friday, December 21 topped the month’s maximum at 42.7.

On the whole, 2018 was Moree’s seventh warmest year on record, based on mean maximum temperatures.

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Last year, the mean maximum temperature was 28.5 degrees, up 0.3 on 2017 and the highest recorded at Moree Aero since it began recording in 1995.

Moree also recorded its highest annual mean temperature (20.9), equalling the record set in 2014.

Moree’s warmest year on record was 1957, with a mean maximum temperature of 29.2, followed by 1907 (the first year temperature records were recorded at Moree Post Office) with a mean maximum of 28.9. Other hot years were 1926, 1915, 1925 and 1940.

Meanwhile, total of 428.4 millimetres was recorded in Moree in 2018, 147.9mm below Moree’s average annual rainfall total of 576.3.

And while 2018 was a dry year, it certainly wasn’t Moree’s driest. That record was set way back in 1902 when only 202.7mm was recorded at Moree Post Office. The second-driest year was interestingly 100 years later in 2002, when 277.4mm was recorded at Moree Aero.

2018 was in fact Moree’s 25th driest year, and the driest since 2014 when we received 354.8mm of rain.

Last year Croppa Creek recorded its lowest annual rainfall total in more than 50 years, with a total of 339.7. Prior to that, its lowest annual total rainfall recorded was 274.2mm in 1965.

State-wide, 2018 was the sixth driest year on record and NSW’s warmest year ever recorded, with a mean temperature 1.68 degrees above average.

Nationally, 2018 was Australia's third warmest year on record, with the annual national mean temperature 1.14 degrees above average, while the annual national mean maximum temperature the second warmest on record (1.55 degrees above average).

The national average rainfall for 2018 was 412.8mm, 11 per cent below the 1961 to 1990 average of 465.2mm, making it Australia's 39th driest year in a record spanning 1900 to the present.