Autumn Heat Surprise
March 14, 2017
Filed under News
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Autumn has kicked off with a streak of sizzlingly hot days, catching Perth off guard.
With the first week of March reaching temperatures of 36 degrees, the unseasonal conditions have come as a0 surprise, just as many were preparing for the upcoming cooler autumn season.
This is not the first time this year that we have seen weather records broken in Perth. February also saw record levels of rainfall. According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s senior climate liaison officer, Glenn Cook, the strange weather isn’t disappearing anytime soon.
“The rainfall event brought a significant amount of moisture to the area, so soils are still releasing moisture into the atmosphere. We would expect to observe higher than normal humidity levels around Perth,” he said.
February saw the second highest rainfall ever, recording 137.2mm in the Perth metropolitan area.
Cook said current high humidity levels were caused by the February rainfall:
“Over the past few weeks, we have also seen a fairly static pressure pattern, which means a stagnant air mass over Perth and little change to the local atmospheric make-up, and thus relatively static humidity levels.”
He said staff at the Bureau were surprised with the high temperatures at the start of March, capping the unusual wet and cold end to the summer.
“It is the warmest start to March since 2001, when a mean maximum of 35.2 degrees was recorded from 1 – 8 March.”
“We are typically less likely to see high temperatures as the month of March goes on. Perth Metro’s latest 40 degrees or greater day in autumn is 41.9 degrees on 23 March 2005.”
Records for Perth Metro go back to 1897.
With the hot weather increasing after the summer period the risk of fires also continues past the summer season.
According to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES), the risk will remain high until the end of April.