Temps soar seven degrees above monthly average in Armidale

Higher than average temperatures predicted for Armidale while heatwave hits Queensland.
Higher than average temperatures predicted for Armidale while heatwave hits Queensland.

Armidale is in for an unseasonably sweaty few days with temperatures expected to exceed monthly averages.

The Bureau of Meteorology are predicting tops of 18 degrees for Saturday and Sunday and 19 on Monday.

On Tuesday the mercury will reach 22 – seven degrees higher than the monthly average of 14.8.

Wednesday and Thursday will also be hotter than average at 22 and 21 degrees.

But we’re still a few degrees from hitting Armidale’s hottest August day on record – 27.4 degrees in 2009.

While this week’s temperatures might not qualify as “scorching”, Queensland is in the midst of a “winter heatwave”.

Higgins say a high pressure system building over the state on Friday will anchor for seven days, blocking any cold fronts from the south. 

Ninety-five per cent of the sunshine state is forecast to hit at least 30 degrees over the coming week.

Back home, bush fire season has kicked in early, officially declared for the region on August 1.

Northern Tablelands Superintendent Chris Wallbridge said crews were called out to about 24 fires around the region on the last weekend in July alone.

And NSW Rural Fire Service Northern Tablelands Group Captain Ray White predicts conditions are set to worsen later this month when seasonal winds kick in.

“Even though we’ve had quite a big season of rain, the grass has already cured off to about 80 to 90 percent,” Captain White said.

Each year, the NSW RFS declares the New England-Northern Tablelands region’s bush fire season a month earlier than the state’s coastal areas where higher rainfall and lighter frosts combine to delay more hazardous fire conditions.

But on this side of the Great Dividing Range, drying frosts have combined with 2017’s recent rains, to produce more grass and a greater “fuel load”. 

Captain White said the tall, dried out grasses spreading across fields and weaving between trees and scrub lands, make up the “fine surface fuels” that usually trigger bush fires. 

The start of bush fire season means permits are now needed by everyone who wants to light an open fire, unless it’s just a basic cooking fire. 

Permits are free but they represent an agreement by the holder to abide by certain safety practices that help ensure the fire remains controlled.

Permits also require people to give advance notice of the fire to their neighbours and the local fire control centre so they know who to call if they receive any fire reports. 

To arrange a permit, contact your local NSW RFS brigade or call the Inverell Fire Control Centre on 6721 0446.

Send your weather pictures to rachel.baxter@fairfaxmedia.com.au.