Cobar residents adjust to life on the sun

The pool has proved to be the best place to beat the heat, with Cobar Shire Council offering free entry last week. Council has extended the offer this week for casual visitors.

As Cobar swelters through the current relentless heatwave, residents could be forgiven for thinking our town is located right next door to the sun!

While we haven’t quite broken the record for the hottest day ever recorded, January is on track to be one of the hottest months ever.

At the time of going to print, the average temperature for this month sits at 41.1 degrees, almost seven degrees hotter than the long term average.

Just six days this month have had a top temperature below 40, with the past 10 days straight climbing above 40 degrees and the forecast for the next week showing much of the same is expected.

Last Thursday Cobar reached 46.8 degrees, just short of the all time heat record (since 1963) which was 47 degrees in 2001.

A new national record for the hottest overnight temperature was recorded at Noona, one of the Bureau of Meteorology measuring locations between Cobar and Wilcannia, where the temperature only dropped to 35.5 degrees on Thursday night.

Along with the heat, afternoon storms on a number of days last week brought windy and dusty conditions as well as some small amounts of rainfall, with around 2mm recorded for the week.

Last Tuesday wind gusts of up to 52km/h were recorded at the Cobar Meteorological Office, while on Wednesday a storm in the evening saw gusts up to 72km/h and a brief temperature drop to 32.9 degrees around 7pm, before warming back up to 38 degrees around 8.30pm after the storm had passed.

The current above-average heatwave goes back to late December, when seven days were recorded above 40 degrees and modern records were beaten.

A top of 44.9 degrees on December 19 beat the old record for the hottest December day in 55 years, only to be beaten again the following day with a top of 45.6 degrees.

December also set a new record for the highest average temperature with 36.1 degrees, just over three above average.

While modern records measured by the Bureau of Meteorology only date back to 1963, local historian John Collins has examined records dating back around 100 years and found the temperature has previously exceeded 47 degrees around 10 times.

He said the current weather is reminiscent of the 1939 heat wave, where an average temperature of 39.96 degrees was recorded in the 57 days between December 17, 1938 and February 13, 1939.