Outback town smashes temperature records with 28 days above 40C in one month
Tennant Creek clock tower shows the temperature at 41C on December 27. It got hotter. (Supplied: Steve Edgington)
Forget frying an egg on the footpath, in Tennant Creek you could roast a whole chook in the main square, as the town heads towards its 28th day above 40C this December.
- Alice Springs, Yulara and Tennant Creek are all set to scald in temperatures above 40C during the coming days
- Heat records for December have been broken in regional towns and remote regions across Central Australia
- Top End receives a burst of rain after a dry December, with lightning knocking out water supply on the Tiwi Islands
Records are toppling across Central Australia as the outback region scorches under what the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has called “severe to extreme” conditions.
Tennant, Alice Springs and Yulara are all gearing up to roast in temperatures around six to 10 degrees warmer than average.
Yulara was expected to next week scald under 46C heat while Alice would tip the thermometer at 44C.
BOM forecaster Bradley Wood said Tennant Creek’s month in the cauldron “completely smashes their previous record“.
“Previously the most they’d had in a month was 20 [days] in January 2008,” Mr Wood said.
Prior to that, the town had sizzled for 16 days of over-40C heat in 1972.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Bradley Wood says NT heat records have been smashed. (ABC News: Mitchell Woolnough)
Tennant hides in the air-con
Tennant Creek has become a town in hiding, as residents do their best to escape the unrelenting heat.
Mayor Steve Edgington said there was “a lot of strain on air conditioning”.
“A lot of people are staying indoors, and it’s certainly had an impact on Christmas Day,” Mr Edgington said.
Unfortunately for residents, there appeared to be no quick end in sight, with the BOM’s 10-day modelling showing stifling conditions would persist into the new year.
The remote regions of Lajamanu and Rabbit Flat on the Tanami Track also knocked over temperature records for the month.
Storms knock out Tiwi power
But in the Top End there’s been some welcome rain.
But ongoing electrical storms have also kept emergency crews busy during the holiday period.
Over on the Tiwi Islands, residents were even left without water after a Christmas Eve thunderstorm.
Power and Water’s Nigel Deacon said a lightning storm knocked out communications, meaning messages about the issue weren’t able to immediately get through.
“There was a big lightning storm on Christmas Eve, so that meant early on Christmas morning we effectively lost all comms,” Mr Deacon said.
“I think the Telstra communications system was completely knocked out as well.”
The outage wasn’t reported until a Power and Water employee returned home on Boxing Day, with crews getting the water back up and running later that day.