HOT: Australia experienced its hottest January on record.
HOT: Australia experienced its hottest January on record. Michael Nolan

Warm weather on the way after record month

AUSTRALIANS have just sweated through their hottest month on record.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the mean temperature averaged across the country for January exceeded 30 degrees.

South Burnett residents will be experiencing an already warm start to February with a maximum of 33 degrees predicted for Kingaroy today.

Bureau senior climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins said this was the first time this had occurred for any month.

"Queensland, like many other states, experienced a very warm January, particularly out in the western parts of the state,” he said.

"They missed out on a lot of rain out there as well.”

Heatwave conditions affected large parts of the country through most of the month.

Records were broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes across the country.

In Queensland, Cloncurry was a stand out with 43 days recorded in a row with temperatures about 40 degrees.

"The main contributor to this heat was a persistent high pressure system in the Tasman Sea, which was blocking any cold fronts and cooler air from impacting the south of the country,” Dr Watkins said.

"At the same time, we had a delayed onset to the monsoon in the north of the country which meant we weren't seeing cooler, moist air being injected from the north.”

The warming trend has also seen Australian temperatures increase by more than one degree over the past 100 years, further contributing to the unusually warm conditions.

Despite current major flooding in north Queensland, the southeast has been exceptionally dry.

Dr Watkins said forecasts suggested February would continue to be warm and dry.

"There is a high chance about 80 per cent of warmer than average days,” he said.

"In terms of rainfall, average to below-average rainfall is expected for Queensland, particularly parts of eastern Queensland where the odds are a little lower of getting normal rainfall.”

Looking ahead, maximum temperatures in Kingaroy will still remain at 30 degrees or above until early next week.

BOM have forecast maximum temperatures to drop to around 29 degrees by Wednesday, February 6.

There will only be a medium chance of showers over the next week with a 40 per cent chance of rain on Saturday, Monday and Tuesday.

However, these are only predicted to produce up to 2mm of rainfall.

South Burnett

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