BoM reveal Rocky's hottest winter on record, Yeppoon's driest
WINTER was over before it began in Rockhampton, which has sweltered through its hottest season in 77 years of recorded history
Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Sam Campbell today confirmed the mercury rose to a mean temperature of 19.2°C; 0.3°C above the previous record of 18.9°C.
There was essentially no reprieve from the heat, with rainfall less than one tenth (6.8mm) of the winter average of 97.2mm.
While Mr Campbell said this was considered "very low rainfall", it was not record breaking for Rocky.
Yeppoon, however, experienced its driest winter in 23 years of recorded history, receiving just 18.6mm compared to the average of 134.3mm.
Mr Campbell attributed the unseasonably dry conditions to two main reasons; warm ocean temperatures and high pressure systems which "spent a lot of time over the interior of the continent".
"They maintained a fine, dry and stable airmass," he explained.
The hottest day in Rockhampton was 32.1°C on August 17; Yeppoon reached a top of 28.3°C.
Mr Campbell said spring may offer more promising rainfalls, with a forecast for "close to average conditions" for the next three months.
Rockhampton's average spring rainfall is 139.9mm.
But Mr Campbell warned to brace for heat though in the immediate future.
"Really we are seeing a continuation of the dry conditions through the forecast period for the next seven days it's just dry around Rockhampton," he said.
The spring outlook also provides the perfect conditions for increased bushfire risk, with slightly above average daytime temperatures and above average overnight temperatures.
"It is very dry, so the combination of above-average temperatures and the dry conditions, you could say that it's more likely than not that the fire conditions would be worse than normal as a result," he said.
His warning mirrored that of the Rockhampton Regional Council, who today urged residents to finalise bushfire preparations as the season already ravages parts of the region.
They advised more than 20 vegetation fires have been recorded in the area over the past month, and Local Disaster Management Group chair councillor Tony Williams encouraged residents to play their part in reducing the risk and ensuring fire fuel is as low as possible.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Rockhampton Area Director Wayne Kapernick said 11 hazard reduction burns have taken place in the region in the past month to reduce bushfire risks, but that preparation from property owners, including Bushfire Survival Plans, further assists their efforts.
"As the temperature increases, people need to use caution when conducting a hazard reduction burn, as there is a greater chance for a fire ember to escape a burn and cause an unexpected fire," Mr Kapernick said.
"People should report an unexpected fire as early as possible as this can minimise the amount of property damage that fire can cause."