A hot December one for the record books

A hot December one for the record books


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The chance of above median maximum temperatures for January to March, 2019.

The chance of above median maximum temperatures for January to March, 2019.

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Maximum temperatures in December 2018 were above average across most of WA.

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THE warm weather is set to continue after Western Australia recorded its second hottest December in 2018.

Maximum temperatures in December 2018 were above average across most of WA and it was the second warmest December on record and the warmest since 1972 for the State as a whole.

The warm weather is predicted to stay with a 60-80 per cent chance of exceeding the median maximum temperature for the months of January, February and March.

Thunderstorms produced a number of moderate falls at inland southern WA in early and mid-December, with Laverton having its wettest December on record and Bencubbin recording its wettest December since 1995.

Due to lack of tropical cyclone activity in December, many locations in the Kimberley recorded less than half their December average rainfall and experienced their driest December since 1992.

The highest maximum temperatures for the week ending January 8, 2019. Map from Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

The highest maximum temperatures for the week ending January 8, 2019. Map from Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

For WA as a whole, the mean maximum temperature was 2.15°C above average, the second-highest in December on record, only behind +2.87°C in 1972.

The mean minimum temperature was 0.91°C above average for WA.

Persistent extreme high temperatures including many December records were observed in the north and central WA in the past 10 days of December.

A temperature of 49.3°C at Marble Bar in the Pilbara on December 27 not only exceeded its previous all-time record of 49.2°C, from January 3 1922, but was also the highest temperature for WA in seven years, with the previous record of 49.4°C at Roebourne on December 21, 2011.

Wittenoom had its December record of 46.2°C broken five times towards the end of December, with 47.8°C on December 27 exceeding its previous annual record of 47.6°C that was set on January 2, 1998.

Several sites across inland Pilbara and the Kimberley had their warmest December on record or warmest December for at least 20 years, with monthly mean maximum temperatures exceeding 40°C.

Marble Bar’s mean maximum of 44.1°C also claimed the top national hot spot in December on record, and 14 days with temperatures over 45°C at Marble Bar was another December record, with the previous record being 13 days in December 1961.

In addition to record hot days, some sites in the north and central WA also recorded their warmest night on record in late December – a minimum temperature of 34.0°C at Wittenoom on December 27 was the highest minimum for WA for 25 years when a minimum of 34.2°C was recorded at Marble Bar on December 4, 1993.

Other extremes included the coldest day on average going to Mount Barker on December 6 and the strongest wind gust of 141 km/h going to Leonora  on December 9.

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