Alice has hottest day on record


25110 rain OKAlice Springs had its hottest day on record on Saturday, reaching 45.6°C, says the Bureau of Metereology.
Walungurru (Kintore) recorded a minimum of a stifling 33.8°C on Sunday night, which is the hottest overnight temperature ever recorded in the Northern Territory.
Heatwave conditions are forecast to continue for the next week, with maximum temperatures unlikely to drop below 40°C  and 20°C overnight in most areas.
From Friday, there’s a slight chance of relief from isolated showers or storms during the weekend (see graph).
Meanwhile Territory park rangers are pleading with visitors to take notice of severe heat warnings in Central Australia after several walkers underestimated conditions over the weekend.
On Friday, three adults from the Philippines and a three year old suffered heat stress when they failed to take enough water while on a walk at Standley Chasm in the middle of the day in 45 degree heat.
In another incident, a couple from Melbourne took a wrong turn at Simpsons Gap and ended up on a longer trail with only 600 mls of water between them.
25110 BoM graph Dec 29Says Kristen Hay, Acting Senior Director Parks and Wildlife Operations: “Walking in hot weather can result in heat exhaustion, which may progress to a potentially fatal heat stroke.
AT LEFT: BoM temperature graph for December 29.
“If you do find yourself feeling unwell on a walk or disorientated, stop. Rest in the shade, drink water and stay there.
“You should drink at least one litre of water per hour when outside.
“Tell someone where you are going and plan your route well including downloading maps and other offline tracking apps prior to your departure.
“Make sure you leave early in the day and wear sunscreen as well as light coloured clothes, long sleeves and a hat and take fruit or energy bars with you for snacks,” says Mr Hay.


  1. Photo from Jerry Flattum
    On our veranda in the rural area of Alice Springs at 3pm on that Saturday (29/12/18) we registered 50 degrees on two different thermometers.

  2. The 1891 record still stands as the highest “recorded” in the Alice. As there was no comparison to the airport site we will never know which was hotter.
    “But as the two stations never operated simultaneously to allow comparisons, we can only speculate whether today’s airport record would have beaten that of the Telegraph Station in a fair fight.”

  3. @ Marc Hendrickx (Posted January 1, 2019 at 9:24 am): Tony Yarham makes a valid point. In recent years I’ve recorded 50C under my patio a few times. The thermometer was accurate but clearly reflected the situation in which it was placed.
    Placed in a different position, my thermometer has recently shown readings about the same as the official BoM records.

  4. The airport and OTS are two different locations spaced about 14.5 kms apart so its no surprise the temps are different.
    The record in Alice Springs proper remains 47.5C at the OTS set on Christmas eve 1891. This was well before any urban heat effect would impact. It was measured with a standard thermometer in a Stevenson Screen – well ahead of the time.
    The airport, well on the other side of the range, and well out of town measured 45.6°C. They are completely different sites. It is not correct to say Alice Springs has a new record based on the airport temp. The airport is 12kms from the town centre.

  5. Don’t worry about it, Marc – the way things are going, it won’t be long before that old record is overtaken at the A/S Airport, too, and then it will be a moot point.
    I’m sure we’re all looking forward to that day.

  6. It is very hot, but some like me like it and some do not.
    This weather is a bit like the subjects of discussions on Alice News: We do not always agree, but we have a goal in common – to better the NT and specially Alice.
    So I wish all readers and writers the best that one can wish for 2019. In this we will all agree.

  7. What do you do to help yourself, family and others cope with risks from extreme heat?
    What strategies are available to people with less money, poorer health, less robust housing, failing air conditioners or scant infrastructure to help them cope?
    How do we reduce risks of wildfire and environmental catastrophes?
    Our own strategies should be shared and summaries of strategies used elsewhere need to be modified for central Australians.
    Climate refugees from Central Australia is a possibility. Some people might have options to migrate to cooler regions. Others don’t.
    It is important that the Alice News documents weather stories.  
    Weather is the day to day events whose patterns are described as climate. Your readers’ comments (below) about where and when temperatures are recorded are relevant at small scale but understanding the trends is necessary and better actions are vital.
    It is the trends that reveal climate change. It is the actions that may help us survive it.
    Maximum temperatures are rising and the numbers of hot days in a year are increasing.  
    This is evident in many national reports, the regional report with link provided below (publicly available on the CLC site) and the temperature graph included below.
    Climate analyses done in 2013 need to be updated with analyses of data from the last five years (since the closure of CSIRO in Alice Springs, this has to be done by others). 
    Cumulatively, weather and climate have powerful effects upon the natural and human environments of Central Australia. People and wildlife are and will be greatly stressed by the continuous high temperatures. Let’s expand public discussion about both reductions of emissions and coping strategies.
    Mooney, M., F. Walsh, R. Hill, J. Davies, A. Sparrow and Central Land Council Lytentye Apurte Rangers (2014) Climate change: Learning about what is happening with the weather in Central Australia, A3 35 pp report by CSIRO with Central Land Council, Alice Springs Australia.
    Thank you.
    [ED – The graph below starts in 1943 and ends in 2013.]

  8. @ Fiona Walsh (Posted January 2, 2019 at 3:12 pm): Thank you, Fiona, for your most informative post.
    The closure of the CSIRO in Alice Springs is, I consider, one of the most short-sighted and regrettable decisions ever made as far as Central Australia is concerned but typical of the myopia that afflicts contemporary coast-oriented bureaucracy.
    Maintaining the presence of the CSIRO in the Centre would surely have been as vital in these times of worsening climatic conditions and consequent impacts on the environment as it ever has been in the past.
    However, the loss of the CSIRO in Alice Springs is symptomatic, and certainly symbolic, of the lack of concern and real regard for so much of the real Australia.

  9. Congratulations are due to former Chief Minister (and current fossil fuel industry lobbyist) Paul Henderson on this, another climate record.
    Mr Henderson’s determination to accelerate climate chaos by pumping out as much methane as fast as possible has been instrumental in the recent swathe of smashed records around the NT.
    Undoubtedly, current Chief Minister (and current fossil fuel lobbyist) Mike “Methane” Gunner is set to continue the streak, opening large areas of the NT to new fossil fuel exploitation that guarantees new records will continue to be set.

  10. Evelyne, you send a timely message of optimism to Alicians for 2019. It is most welcome, I am sure, to the townspeople as the Deniers v Alarmists heat up in the Great Climate Change Debate. My money is on the Deniers.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here