Weekend heatwave sent records tumbling in SA and NSW – and it isn’t over yet

Well, it’s officially summer, although I’m sure many of you will contend that it arrived a few days ago.

The numbers back you up, with records tumbling over the weekend, most notably in South Australia and New South Wales which registered their hottest November days since records began.

And it’s not over yet — this week may see more records broken in southern Queensland and northern NSW, according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

BOM senior meteorologist Dean Narramore said Andamooka in outback South Australia reached 48C on Saturday, surpassing the 47.9C recorded at Tarcoola on November 30, 1993.

In New South Wales, 46.9C was recorded at the relatively new weather station at Smithville near the SA border, topping the 46.8C at Wanaaring on November 20, 2009.

The Ouyen weather station south of Mildura, with 64 years of data, equalled its own Victorian record of 45.8C.

“We saw 20 sites across NSW, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory break maximum temperature records with over 30 years of data,” Mr Narramore said.


Saturday maximums

Here are some of the locations that broke their November station records on Saturday:

Location Temperature
Andamooka, South Australia **48.0C
Marree Airport, South Australia47.5C
Roxby Downs, South Australia47.4C
Smithville, New South Wales **46.9C
Ouyen, Victoria *45.8C
Mildura, Victoria45.7C
Hay, New South Wales45.5C
Sydney Airport, New South Wales43.0C
Rutherglen, Victoria42.6C

** state November record

* equal to state November record

The national record for the hottest November day still holds — 48.7C at Birdsville in 1990.

Some of these stations only have relatively short records like Smithville (which opened in 2017), while those like Andamooka (opened 1965) are far more long-running.

Saturday minimums

Here are a few of the locations that broke their overnight November station records on Saturday:

Birdsville Airport, Queensland33.2C
Tibooburra, New South Wales31.3C
Cobar, New South Wales30.1C
Sydney Airport26.0C
Newcastle Nobbys, New South Wales23.7C

According to Mr Narramore, at least 13 sites with at least 30 years of records broke November overnight temperature records.

The warmest overnight temperature ever recorded in Australia in November was 35.0C in 1965 at the Cunnamulla Post Office in Queensland.

Warm overnight temperatures are a key element of a heatwave, as they make it difficult to recover from the heat of the day and make it easier for temperatures to climb the following day.


Sunday maximums

Some of the locations that broke station records on Sunday:

Walgett, New South Wales45.0C
Maitland, New South Wales41.6C
Kempsey, New South Wales40.1C

Kempsey is right on the coast of northern New South Wales with more than 20 years of data, so 40 degrees there is pretty hot, Mr Narramore said.

It is not just single-day records

Sydney broke 40C on back-to-back days — 40.8C on Saturday and 40.5C on Sunday.

“This is only the second time in 162 years of records that Sydney Observation Hill has recorded back-to-back 40-degree temperatures,” Mr Narramore said.

And that’s for any month, not just in November; the previous time was in January 1960.

Mr Narramore said spring could also have been one of the warmest on record, but we will have to wait for the numbers to be crunched before we know for sure.

If you thought it was bad in Sydney, spare a thought for Birdsville which has now had four days over 46C, with 47C forecast today.

Monday maximums

Here are some of the locations that broke November station records on Monday:

Ballera, Queensland47.0C
Thargomindah, Queensland46.2C
Roma, Queensland43.7C
Moree, New South Wales44.3C
St George, Queensland45.1C
Dalby, Queensland41.3C
Inverell, New South Wales38.6C

It’s not over yet

Today will be particularly hot across much of northern and inland New South Wales, and Mr Narramore said we’re now likely to see record temperatures for December.

“We’re looking to break more records across southern Queensland and northern New South Wales on Tuesday and Wednesday with the next burst of heat, with temperatures up to 48C forecast for places like Bourke and 47C at Birdsville, Walgett and a few others.”

Brisbane is forecast to remain in the low to mid 30s for the rest of the week, while Ipswich is expected to reach 36C today before peaking at 41C on Wednesday.

Mr Narramore said numerous locations on the Darling Down could approach or exceed December records.

The heat is expected to peak on Wednesday for many locations in southern Queensland, reaching 43C in Dalby, 38C in Toowoomba, 43C in Chinchilla and 46C in Goondiwindi — even Texas on the border with NSW is looking at around 44C.

“That’s pretty hot air for that part of the world,” Mr Narramore said.

These record temperatures also raise the fire danger, so keep up to date with the latest warmings and follow the advice of your local emergency services.

Take it easy in the sun and check in with those more vulnerable around you.

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Here are key reasons bitcoin prices are tumbling

A fresh record high for bitcoin is going to have to wait, if it comes at all.

Bitcoin prices

on Friday were being pummeled, pushing the cryptocurrency into correction territory, commonly defined as a decline in an asset from a recent peak of at least 10%.

At last check, Bitcoins changed hands on CoinDesk, down 2.4%, at $16,714, representing a more than 14% decline from its 52-week peak at $19,495, put in less than 24-hours before its Thanksgiving tumble.

Bitcoin has been a traditionally volatile asset since its inception, but if those observing the closely followed cryptocurrency are looking for reasons for its recent drop, market participants were pointing to at least three key factors:

  • Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong implied tougher regulation ahead in a Wednesday tweet

  • Overbought and primed for a drop

  • Bitcoin is volatility

Armstrong rumors

A series of messages from Coinbase’s CEO Armstrong via Twitter is being credited with some of the decline for bitcoin and the broader cryptocurrency complex. On Wednesday, Armstrong implied that the U.S. Treasury Department my attempt to push through tightened regulation before the Trump administration leaves office.

The the threat of tighter regulation has always loomed large over the nascent digital-currency sector but the comments may have been enough to set a bearish tilt in motion on the bitcoin’s which have enjoyed a more than 130% year-to-date gain, experts said.

Prime for a pullback

Charles Hayter, founder of CryptoCompare told MarketWatch that the retreat in bitcoin as “one of the fastest moves” that he has seen, adding it wasn’t unexpected after the cryptocurrency had made such a brisk run near its December 2017 all-time high.

“This was one of the fastest moves bitcoin has made. Naturally there is a pullback at these points as moves from off exchange to on exchange take place,” Hayter said in emailed comments to MarketWatch on Friday.

Bitcoin’s rise to the stratosphere comes as the Dow Jones Industrial Average
is up 5% so far this year, the S&P 500 index
 has gained over 12% during the same period and the Nasdaq Composite Index
 has advanced 35% in the year to date. Gold
 meanwhile, has climbed 19% thus far this year and is staging a reversal of much of its rally as viable COVID-19 vaccines emerge.

” A fair few of the buyers at 10k will be collecting their winnings and a fair few who have been hiding out at these levels from 2018 will be happy to exit the trade,” he speculated.

Inherent volatility

A chart published on Friday by Bespoke Investment Group highlights on key fact that those who are new to bitcoin must get accustomed to: its traditional volatility.

Bespoke wrote that declines of Thursday’s magnitude aren’t particularly out of the ordinary throughout bitcoin’s history, highlighting that since 2017, bitcoin has seen 24 one-day drops more gut-wrenching than on Thanksgiving day (see attached chart):

Bespoke Investment Group

Although bears might use this current retreat as a cautionary tale of why bitcoin is a problematic asset, many continue to hold the asset on hope of a more bullish horizon for cryptos.

Libra isn’t dead

digital-currency network, Libra, could launch as early as January, according to reports. If so, it would represent a major accomplishment for the history as a whole, even if critics, say that Libra coin, doesn’t truly represent the traditional crypto market.

That said, it might be a feather in the cap of proponents of digital assets at a time when virtual currencies are drawing greater mainstream appeal.

Last month, PayPal Holdings
 said it would allow customers to buy cryptocurrency through their accounts and use cryptocurrency for merchant payments, which also has lent some legitimacy of the nascent asset.

Mainstream appeal

Major investors, including hedge-fund luminary Paul Tudor Jones, have become proponents of the asset, describing its recent rally in a CNBC interview as in its “first innings.”

Those apparent endorsements highlight a growing focus by institutional investors into bitcoin as a legitimate alternative to fiat currency or other assets used to hedge their exposure to conventional investment instruments.

To be sure, bitcoin and its conterparts, critics warn, could still tumble to zero and therein lies the intrigue and potential peril of digital currencies.

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