Weather

Record heatwave finally easing as monsoon strengthens

Beef Central, 14/01/2013

The extreme spell of heat across the nation continues to break records on a daily basis but the mass of hot, dry air is now gradually being eroded as cooler oceanic air filters through Australia, according to The Weather Channel.

During the weekend Moomba in northeast South Australia recorded a maximum of 49.6C, the hottest temperature recorded in Australia for 15 years and only 1C off the highest temperature since daily records began.

On Saturday Windorah in Queensland and Tibooburra in NSW both peaked at 48C, their hottest days on record.

Alice Springs has now recorded 13 consecutive days above 40C and 11 above 42C, also new records.

The Weather Channel senior meteorologist Tom Saunders said the heatwave was mainly the result of a late monsoon.

Typically by January the monsoon trough will have migrated south over northern Australia, increasing cloud and rain and therefore lowering the temperature of the air over the region.

The delay has led to a four week spell of sunny weather across the interior, which has allowed a very hot, dry air mass to gradually build and expand.

"Thankfully the monsoon trough is now strengthening over northern Australia and combined with cooler onshore winds across the south and east this is causing the mass of hot, dry air to gradually erode," Mr Saunders said.

"Temperatures have already dropped through SA, VIC, NSW and TAS. Queensland's heatwave will end on Tuesday as maximums through the west drop to near average. Lastly across the NT temperatures will gradually fall to average by the weekend."

Fodder register established in New South Wales

Meanwhile the NSW Government and NSW Farmers have teamed up to establish a fodder donation register to assist farmers affected by bushfires.

"Already we have seen the dedication of volunteers on the fire ground and now farmers across the State are throwing their support behind those affected," NSW Minister for Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson said.

"We have already had calls of support from country NSW offering hay and grain to those left with little or nothing on their properties following the fires.

"At this point authorities estimate some 10,000 stock, mostly sheep, have perished or have had to be put down.

"In the worst cases properties have been left without a blade of grass to feed livestock – this register is one way of helping farming families recover from this devastating event."

Affected producers in Natural Disaster Declared areas may be eligible for transport freight subsidies of up to 50 per cent on the carriage of livestock and fodder up to a maximum of $15,000 per annum.

NSW Farmers President Fiona Simson said the central fodder donation register will be located on the DPI website.

"To register fodder donations contact 1800 814 647," Ms Simson said.

"Pledges will be uploaded and made public and also disseminated into the affected Local Government Areas."

NSW fire updates are available at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au

"Early reporting of fires is essential – please call 000 if you see any fire," Ms Hodgkinson said.

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