A storm brewing in the south of the Australian Capital Territory, 21 January 2013. Canberra was on track to exceed the January average for maximum temperatures, which ws 28 degrees. Photo: Graham Tidy

By Stephanie Anderson
22 January 2013

Canberra is sweltering through what could be its hottest January on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

After hitting a record high of 42 degrees last week, the month’s average could be pushed into the record books, meteorologist Rebecca Kamitakahara said.

“We are on track to exceed our January average for maximum temperatures, which is 28 degrees,” she said.

“Currently our average temperature is sitting in the low 30s, but that of course will be fully evaluated at the end of the month.”

The capital sweltered through its hottest January day on record last week, when the mercury reached 42 degrees on January 18. Ms Kamitakahara said that record was also the second hottest temperature on record, across all months, for Canberra - second only to a maximum of 42.2 degrees recorded on February 1, 1968.

The higher temperatures, coupled with a weak inland low pressure trough, have also caused some isolated thunderstorms throughout the capital region.

“There is another front expected to cross the state late Friday night or early Saturday morning,” Ms Kamitakahara said.

“There is the chance that we will see some increased shower and thunderstorm activity associated with this.”

The expected storms have put firefighters on watch for possible lightning strikes throughout the region.

The dry conditions mean storms can have dangerous consequences, NSW Rural Fire Service member Tim Carroll said.

“Any sort of lightning activity at this time of the year gets our attention,” he said. [more]

Canberra heading for January heat record as storms spark fire fears

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