Our hottest day in history: Orange scorches into the roaring 40s

HOT STUFF: Gladstone players combat the intense heat with cold drinks at Sir Jack Brabham Park on Saturday afternoon. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
HOT STUFF: Gladstone players combat the intense heat with cold drinks at Sir Jack Brabham Park on Saturday afternoon. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Orange topped 40 degrees for the first time in at least 40 years as a heatwave engulfed the Central West on Saturday.

Plenty of water, drinks and cold towels were in demand as residents in Orange baked in the record heat.

The temperature hit 40.1 degrees mid-afternoon at the Orange Airport weather station where the city’s temperatures are recorded.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Jordan Notara said it was the hottest temperature recorded at the airport since figures were taken there in 1996 and it beat all temperatures recorded at the Orange Agricultural weather station, where records were taken since 1976.

The previous record at the airport weather station was 38.1 degrees on January 12, 2013.

Mr Notara said records were broken right across the Central West.

Weather website Weatherzone tweeted that Forbes’ sapping 46.7 degree heat on Saturday was the hottest in 135 years.

Mr Notara said it was close to the all-time highest recorded in NSW.

That was 48.5 degrees set in Ivanhoe in 2004.

“It would put it in the top 20 temperatures ever recorded in NSW.”

Bathurst airport weather station recorded 42.1 degrees, breaking the previous record of 40.7 degrees set in 2004.

Cowra reached 45.7 degrees, Parkes 45.9 degrees and Mudgee hit 43.9 degrees – all beating previous records for their weather stations.

Lithgow was a relatively cooler spot in the area, reaching 39.3 degrees.

But Mr Notara said it was the highest temperature at Lithgow’s Cooerwull weather station since records were first taken there 139 years ago.

The heatwave conditions are set to ease in Orange this week with 25 degrees tipped for Monday and Tuesday before it rises to 31 degrees later in the week.

February has also been a particularly dry month in Orange, with just 2.8mm of rain falling so far.

The driest February on record is 1999 when only 13.4mm of rain fell in Orange.

Orange’s average February rainfall is 144.4mm.

Light showers are forecast for later this week.

SATURDAY’S HEAT IN THE CENTRAL WEST:

  • Orange: 40.1. Previous record 38.1 in 2013
  • Bathurst: 42.1. Previous record 40.7 in 2004
  • Cowra: 45.7. Previous record 44.8 in 2013
  • Dubbo: 46.1. Previous record 45.0 in 2013
  • Forbes: 46.7. Previous record 45.5 in 2017
  • Lithgow: 39.3. Previous record 38.5 in 2009
  • Mudgee: 43.9. Previous record 42.5 in 2014
  • Parkes: 45.9. Previous record 44.1 in 2017
  • Source: Bureau of Meteorology