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Australia experienced its hottest month on record in January, according to Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The 81 year record set in January 1932 was surpassed last month, with an average mean temperature of 29.68 degrees Celsius (85.42 degrees Fahrenheit) and an average mean maximum temperature of 36.92 Celsius. The heatwave was followed by extreme rainfall and flooding in some areas of Queensland and New South Wales, caused by tropical cyclone Oswald.
“The heatwave in the first half of January was exceptional in its extent and duration,” said the Bureau of Meteorology in a statement. Many stations across the country have measured temperatures above 40 Celsius throughout the month. The highest temperature- 49.6 Celsius was measured at Moomba in South Australia on 12 January. “The national average maximum temperature on 7 January was the highest on record. Numerous stations set records for the most days in succession above 40 degrees Celsius, including Alice Springs (17 days) and Birdsville (31 days).”
The end of January brought extreme rainfall to eastern parts of the country, caused by the low pressure system associated with ex-tropical cyclone Oswald. Many coastal areas from Sydney to Cape York received more than 200 mm of rainfall, causing floods in the region between Rockhampton and Bundaberg and in some parts of Queensland.
“Gladstone received 820 millimetres (32 inches) of rainfall in four days, which exceeded its previous record for a whole month, and more than the annual rainfall recorded in 2011 or 2012,” the bureau said.