Another hot record is set

ANOTHER weather record crumbled under the relentless heatwave yesterday.Wagga has now endured seven consecutive days where the temperature has passed 37.8 degrees Celsius – or 100 degrees Fahrenheit.It is the first time that has happened since the keeping of records at the Bureau of Meteorology’s Wagga weather station at Forest Hill in 1941.Four other years – 1946, 1979, 1980 and 2004 – had six consecutive days over 100.Yesterday’s maximum temperature in Wagga was 39 degrees at 3.35pm.If the heatwave continues its predicted course over the next few days, the record will extend to an incredible 11 days by Friday.The heat has forced the cancellation of several outdoor sporting events, including Little Athletics meetings and some tennis competitions.Earlier, it was thought today would only equal the record but the weather bureau yesterday confirmed that January 27 reached 37.9 degrees, giving Wagga a week of hundreds.On Saturday, a record of five days of 40-plus temperatures in January fell when the last day of the month became the sixth day to pass 40.The Rural Fire Service (RFS) is on high alert as the tinder-dry countryside becomes increasingly vulnerable to bushfire.The RFS’s Riverina zone headquarters on Fernleigh Road is now manned around the clock.The big fear is lightning from thunderstorms.“While the storms on Sunday night did not come into our zone they tickled the western areas of Urana and Lockhart,” said RFS Riverina zone manager, Superintendent Joe Knox.“But we have not had any reports of fires as a result of lightning.”The Riverina RFS has sent several support staff to Tumut and the Shoalhaven area to fight fires in those regions.Some 60 firefighters are battling three blazes in the Tumut and Cabramurra areas.Although the fires were being controlled yesterday, the RFS declared a Section 44 emergency in Tumut Shire.The emergency was declared due to the hot weather, the forecast of thunderstorms and to allow greater access to resources.James Smith of the RFS said Cabramurra was not under threat at this time, but the fire there was proving difficult to fight because of the steep terrain.A contingency plan is in place should winds from forecast thunderstorms increase the threat to Cabramurra township.About 50 hectares has been burnt in the Cabramurra fire.A fire at Mill Creek in the Goobragandra Valley has forced the closure of the Hume and Hovell walking track from the Snowy Mountains Highway track head to the Thomas Boyd track head.The fire at Meadow Creek, north west of Tumut, has burnt out about 50 hectares.

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