Hottest summer in 20 years: Blocking out extreme heat

ORANGE is in the midst of its hottest summer in over two decades.

The Bureau of Meteorology yesterday produced statistics revealing the average maximum temperature for summer to date stands at 28.4 degrees Celsius, and if maintained over the next 16 days, it’ll be Orange’s hottest December-January-February period since 1990-91.

Bureau climatologist Alex Evans said a series of heat events have affected many locations across southern parts of NSW over the months since spring last year, resulting in the extreme heat scorching the central west region.

It’s also brought about a run of three consecutive days of 35 degree heat in Orange earlier this week, a run experienced only twice before in the city.

“This has only been observed two times before, during January, 2004, and February, 2004,” Mr Evans said.

“Most recently, the position of near-stationary high pressure system located over the Tasman Sea has directed hot northerly winds into southeast Australia.”

Mr Evans said the hot weather is close to record breaking.

“The warmest summer on record at Orange occurred during the summer of 1990-91, with an average daily maximum temperature of 28.5C,” he said.

“Mean daily maximum temperatures have so far been above average for summer, with the December to February to date mean daily maximum temperature nearly 3C above the long-term average.

“The average maximum temperature for summer to date stands at 28.4C; if this value is maintained until the end of February, it will be the warmest summer since 1990-91.”

Six out of the last 10 summers in Orange have had mean temperatures above the long-term average.

“Which is consistent with the trend of warming temperatures observed both in Australia and globally over the past hundred years,” Mr Evans continued.

“The Bureau’s most recent seasonal climate outlook indicates continuation of warmer than average conditions, with the chances of warmer than normal days  greater than 60 per cent during the February to April period across southeastern NSW.”

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