Heatwave Persists Across The Top End
With no significant rain in sight the first major heatwave this year to affect major NT populations is forecast to persist at least until the end of this weekend.
A heatwave took hold of much of northern Australia last Friday, including WA's Kimberley region, far north Queensland and the NT's Top End.
Gove, on Friday, and McCluer Island, on Saturday, recorded their highest daily maximum temperatures for October.
Several towns recorded close to record maximum temperatures and/or reached over 40°C on Monday. This included temperatures of 40.5°C at Middle Point, 41.9°C at Jabiru, 42.4°C in Tindal, 42°C at McArthur River Mine, and 42.7°C at Bradshaw.
High temperatures in the south, including 39.9°C in Yulara on Monday and 39°C forecast yesterday and today in Alice Springs are due to north, north easterly winds dragging the hot Top End air southward. A cool change from southerly winds is expected Thursday for much of the southern districts.
Why is it so hot?
A combination of factors is causing this heat wave. Primarily it's due to a lack of recent rain and the arrival of dry air, pushed into the Top End from last week's high pressure systems. Warm ocean temperatures are keeping air temperatures above average, especially overnight. The hot sun on dry soils from back-to-back below average rainfall wet seasons mean the ground can heat up more quickly. Underlying these recent conditions is the increase in the frequency of extreme heat events, due to climate change.
Isolated thunderstorms are forecast across coastal and western parts of the Top End and western inland areas for much of this week.
In the western Daly district, including Darwin, these storms are expected to bring a slight to medium chance of 5-10mm of rain from Thursday.
There is also the potential for severe storms. Gusty conditions will help drop the temperature, but only temporarily.
See the heatwave forecast here.
Check for Severe Thunderstorm Warnings here.