SYDNEY – Australia experienced its hottest month on record in January, despite floods and storms that devastated eastern parts of the country, officials said.
The Bureau of Meteorology said both the average mean temperature of 29.6 degrees and the average mean maximum temperature of 36.9 surpassed previous records set in January 1932.
The central Outback sweltered under a “dome” of heat for much of the month, with the Northern Territory posting its hottest mean temperature on record for January of 31.9, the bureau said.
“The heat wave in the first half of January was exceptional in its extent and duration,” it said in a statement released Friday.
“The national average maximum temperature on 7 Jan. was the highest on record. Numerous stations set records for the most days in succession above 40 C, including Alice Springs (17 days) and Birdsville (31 days).”
The bureau said a large number of weather stations set all-time record high temperatures during the heat wave, including Sydney (45.8 on Jan. 18) and Hobart, in Tasmania, (41.8 on Jan. 4).
The highest temperature recorded during the heat wave was at Moomba, in South Australia state, which hit a scorching 49.6 degrees on Jan. 12.