January 2019 Australian Heat Wave (credit: The Australian Bureau of Meteorology, phys.org, The Atlantic)
In the Southern Hemisphere, Australia is currently in the middle of it's summer season. This summer for Australia has brought the hottest ever recorded temperatures. A strong heat wave passed through Australia in mid-January, resulting in scorching hot temperatures!
The Australian Bureau wrote a special climate statement about the heatwave that hit in mid-January. They stated that from January 11 through January 18, the heat wave was at its peak. The hottest day was January 11, in which the nationally-averaged mean temperature was 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, they stated that as of January 23, minimum temperatures were above 73 degrees Fahrenheit for thirteen consecutive days. This broke a record of these minimum temperatures lasting for twelve consecutive days in February 2004.
New South Wales and South Australia are two states of Australia where the extreme heat temperatures most frequently occurred. New South Wales had five consecutive days (January 14-18) of temperatures being above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. In some locations, both states reached temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Not only did the heat last for a long period of time, but it also caused severe temperature spikes.
Also, in southeastern Australia where temperatures were the hottest, up to a million dead fish were found floating in the Darling River. This picture, originally posted in an article written about the Australian heatwave posted on phys.org, shows the devastation the extreme heat caused for sea life in Australia.
Other records were broken as well. The Atlantic reported that the town of Port Augusta set a new record high of a scorching temperature of 121 degrees Fahrenheit.
Below is a relatively alarming picture posted by The Atlantic showing seagulls all sitting in the shade under a palm tree in Melbourne as a result of the extreme heat on January 25, 2019. Temperatures were over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
This heat wave was certainly dangerous and deadly. The Australian Bureau has a heatwave health warning page for the people affected. Some important information mentioned on their page would be to drink plenty of water, stay indoors, beware of heat stress symptoms, and consider the safety of your pets.
© 2019 Weather Forecaster Brittany Connelly
DISCUSSION: On Saturday, January 19, 2019, a cold front affiliated with Winter Storm Harper swept through much of the Southeast United States including Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle. The storm started as a low-pressure system that came into California earlier in the week bringing much needed rain in amounts totaling well over an inch to much of the San Francisco Bay Area. However, Harper grew in intensity once it passed the Rocky Mountains. The cold front brought enough cold air to interact with the warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico to produce severe thunderstorms and even some tornadoes.