Dry and warm start to 2018 in NSW
NSW has experienced a notably dry and warm start to the year, with yet another heatwave affecting the state at the end of this week.
Average maximum temperatures so far this month have been around two to four degrees warmer than usual across most NSW. If this type of heat continues through the rest of January, some places are a good chance to set new monthly maximum temperature records.
Woolbrook's average daytime temperature during the first 23 days of 2018 was 31.7 degrees. The highest monthly maximum temperature recorded at the site was 31.6 degrees during January 1981.
This month's running average maximum temperature at Katoomba was 27.4 degrees as of 9am on Tuesday, which trumps their current January record of 27.2 degrees from 1919. Katoomba should reach the high twenties each day until at least Monday.
The hot weather that has gripped NSW this month is forecast to extend into the start of next week, before cooling slightly during the final two days of January. However, this brief drop in temperatures is unlikely to prevent a number of locations from registering their highest average maximum temperature on record for January.
Earlier in the month, Penrith's 47.3 degrees was the highest temperature recorded in Western Sydney since 1939 and the highest value officially reported on that day anywhere in the world.
In addition to the heat, much of NSW has been left parched after a dry start to the year. Large areas of northern and western NSW and the Hunter region had received less than 20 per cent of their average January rainfall during the first 23 days of the month.
Bourke, Moree and Mungindi had all failed to register any rainfall so far this month as of 9am on Wednesday. The last time Bourke made it this far into the year without any precipitation was 2002. Walgett's 2.8mm as of 9am today was also its lowest total to this point in the month for 13 years.
Looking ahead, temperatures are expected to be slightly on the cooler side of average during February. There is about an even chance of above and below average rainfall for most of NSW during the final month of summer.
© Weatherzone 2018