Feb 3, 2017

Birdsville sweats out record

Toowoomba QLD
Australia
by
Stephanie Smail
,
ABC News

The record for hottest February day in Birdsville in the state's far south-west has been broken, with Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) figures showing the mercury in the town hit 46.2 degrees Celsius at 4:10pm.

Previously, Birdsville's hottest February day was 45.8C in 2006.

The all-time record at Birdsville airport was 49C in January 2013.

...

The hot weather is the continuation of a low pressure surface trough over southern Queensland that contributed to higher than average temperatures in January.

Overnight minimums in January were the highest on record for a large area of southern Queensland, while maximum temperatures were in the highest 10 per cent of historical records for nearly all of the state's southern half.

...

The third heatwave in two months has hit salad growers in Queensland's south hard, with many farmers battling to harvest 30 per cent of their crop.

Farmer Clem Hodgman said he has been losing about 50,000 lettuces and 25,000 cauliflowers a week at his property near Toowoomba.

...

But Rachel Mackenzie from farm lobby group Growcom said the heat could be the new norm.

She said an industry study into heat impacts on the salad industry did not predict such high temperatures for another 13 years.

"We were looking at 2030 in terms of when some of these thresholds would be reached," she said.

"This could be our new reality. We've had three years in a row where we've had significant heat, and we need to start saying what can we do to make sure we have the right [ways] to deal with this."