AUSTRALIA is sweating through a long, hot summer with a number of records smashed, both for daily maximums and for the duration of heatwaves.
South Australia was the epicentre of last week’s heatwave, with a series of record temperatures recorded on Thursday.
Adelaide posted 46.6 degrees, beating a record that had stood since 1939, while Port Augusta registered a barely believable 49.5, just 1.2 cooler than Australia’s hottest ever temperature, 50.7, set at Oodnadatta in SA’s northern zone in 1960.
It was a similarly hot in northern Victoria, Swan Hill recorded 47.5 and Kerang 47.6 on Friday as part of a run where most of the state north of the divide recorded four days with maximums above 40.
The heat then blew over inland NSW, with Griffith registering a day of 46.1 and Canberra hitting 41.2.
Western Queensland has also sweltered, with Birdsville recorded ten consecutive days above 45, while earlier in the month Cloncurry and Camooweal both recorded over a month of consecutive days above 40.
In south-east Queensland, the heat has been less intense, but constant, with Gatton recording 14 straight days above 35 and Brisbane 13 in a row above 32.
However, the heat has failed to translate into storm activity, meaning the region has yet to record useful rainfall for the month.
Part of the reason for the heat and lack of rain over southern Australia has been a constant high pressure ridge out of over the Tasman Sea, combined with a lack of low pressure troughs to help generate summer showers and storms over northern NSW and Queensland.
However, there is moisture around in northern Australia.
There were floods last week in the Daintree River catchment following a deluge of up to 500mm, while this week over 350mm has fallen over the Proserpine River catchment, with more to come.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting up to 400mm of rain over parts of North Queensland, in the area from Mackay to Cairns in particular, while there will also be heavy falls over the Gulf of Carpentaria.
There have also been good falls in the Kimberley with the remnants of tropical cyclone Riley delivering up to 80mm.
Unfortunately, however, none of the moisture is being dragged south, with Central Queensland, around Emerald, expected to be the southern cut-off for this round of rain and storms.