/ 22 January 2024

The heat is on…


The Squiz

Large parts of the country sweated through a scorching weekend – and a shoutout to Paraburdoo in Western Oz’s Pilbara region, which got close to 50C yesterday. It’s been a rollercoaster of weather events over the last couple of months – the Bureau of Meteorology says several concurrent climate drivers are behind the hot/wet/cyclonic conditions that won’t ease up anytime soon.

Umm cyclonic?

Yep. A big storm is strengthening off the Queensland coast, with meteorologists tipping it will turn into a tropical cyclone today – it has pre-emptively been named Kirrily. Forecasters say it’s expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm on Wednesday or Thursday between Cooktown and Mackay, with locals told to prepare for more heavy rainfall. The region is still mopping up after Tropical Cyclone Jasper, and residents forced to evacuate in December say they’re nervous about what Kirrily might bring. “The ground’s still pretty wet, they’ve had a lot of rain this past week as well, so it’s a wait-and-see game,” said one local who headed to family in Victoria after the last cyclone went through.

And what’s happening elsewhere?

The Top End and central Northern Territory are experiencing massive floods thanks to heavier-than-usual monsoonal rains. The Defence Force is preparing to help communities cut off by flooding along the Victoria River, which is closing in on flood records set in 1991. And with 500km of the Stuart Highway cut off along with rail lines, supermarket shelves are bare… NT Chief Minister Eva Lawler says “if the road network remains closed, contingencies including alternative transportation methods or routes will be considered”. And in Western Oz, South Oz and NSW, geez, it’s been a hot weekend… The BOM says “older people, babies, children, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with medical conditions and people who are unwell” should continue to be careful this week with high temperatures persisting in many parts. Right in time for a long weekend…

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