Not to be outdone by the rest of the planet, Kalgoorlie is about to record not only its hottest December ever (exceeding the long-term December average by 5 degrees), but its hottest month since records began, with a mean daily maximum of 37.2°. The previous record hottest month was 37.0° in February, 2007.
It’s probably no surprise that 2019 is also the hottest year on record for our outback town.
In Kalgoorlie this year, nine out of twelve months have seen above-average maximum temperatures. For eight out of twelve months, the mean minimum temperature has topped the long-term average.
Daily maximum records for Kalgoorlie were broken in February (45.3°), April (40.1°), and November (44.7°), and during November and December we sweltered through new record overnight minimums (26.0° and 29.4° respectively).
2019 saw the hottest September ever, exceeding the previous record mean maximum of 25.5° by 0.6°. At 26.1°, September’s average was 3.8° above the long-term average of 22.3°.
What is particularly concerning is the number of times the 30, 35 and 40 degree thresholds were exceeded throughout the year.
Kalgoorlie averages 99.7 days above 30 degrees each year. In 2019 we recorded 137. We had 73 days above 35 degrees (average is 40.1 days), and 28 days above 40 (average is 8.7).
And that is with an incomplete data set for January because of a balls-up at the local BOM station, that was unfortunately experiencing technical issues when we endured (unofficially) the hottest January day ever, pushing up towards the 47 degree mark.
We’ve recorded 143mm of rain, which is below the 10th percentile. In a town that averages only 266mm a year, this is really depressing.
Having said that, all of these numbers kind of feel a bit sterile and pointless while the east coast havens of my childhood are burning.
Let 2020 be the year Australia starts to take things seriously on climate change.
Gust Front – February 2017
While large parts of Australia’s eastern states are experiencing record high temperatures and catastrophic bush fire risks, Western Australian rain records have been smashed, causing widespread flooding, damage to property and, tragically, loss of life. As our climate changes, these weather events are predicted to become more frequent and extreme.
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Down Draft – November 2017
A storm cell passes to the south east at the end of a day that saw the outback city of Kalgoorlie-Boulder hit by a severe front with winds topping 100km/h, causing widespread damage and leaving 16,000 residents without power.
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16th Battalion, Royal Western Australia Regiment (16 RWAR) & the Australian Army Band
Freedom of Entry Parade – Kalgoorlie-Boulder 02/12/17
These photos were taken in November last year – I was going to post them at the time, but upload speeds were non-existent for about a week after the storm because of our shitty, old network that relies on copper wiring, so I shelved the idea. From memory it was the first storm of the season, when the desert is parched from a long, dry Winter, and a dust storm whips up before we’re pelted with rain. The light, just before everything turns mad and dark, is amazing.