The current synoptic weather charts are very favourable for a lengthy spell of warm to hot dry days. At present there is an extended area of high pressure along 40 S Latitude which has become well established from well west of WA to south of NZ . This type of situation is quite typical of March and can persist for weeks on end.
The very hot weather in Northern Inland NSW and Inland QLD has eased slightly but it was over 40 at Bourke last Friday 24th February. Bourke has now had 46 days this summer when the maximum temperature has reached 40 degrees or more. This is the greatest number of days since the 1922-23 summer when 48 days were recorded. There were 47 days in 1905-06, and 1902-03, 54 days in 1900-01, 49 days in 1891-92, 65 days in 1888-89, 68 days in 1885-86, 53 days in 1877-78 and finally 70 days in the summer of 1876-77 when a record 51.8 degrees was recorded on 17th January 1877. In recent years only the 2005-06 summer had 36 days of 40 or more in Bourke. In the earlier years it is obvious that there was a string of very hot summers in Bourke from 1875 to 1915. The majority of these cases led up to a warm to hot dry March and then an April break of significant rainfall in our regions but there is some uncertainty at present.
During the past week there has been record rainfalls in the Gulf of Carpentaria region. Sweers Island has had 1364 mms this month an all time record in 115 years of records. Morninton Island has had 875 mms this month, only February 1967 was wetter with 1296 mms. Burketown's 608 mms was the highest since February 1955 when 652 mms fell.
It has become warmer and a little drier at both Cocos Island and Christmas Island this month. Cocos Island had it's hottest ever day in 65 years of records last Thursday 23rd February when the temperature reached 32.8. Previous hottest days were in 1998 and last year.
Sydney is having it's wettest February for 7 years with 175 mms and this may be due to the sea surface temperatures along the east coast to be about three degrees above normal. This set up may result in scattered thunderstorms on the nearby Tablelands region.