January 2003 hot, dry and smoky.

High temperatures, smoky skies and the threat of fire dominated weather conditions across Gungahlin during January.

Nights were mild, with an average minimum of 13.5°C (13.1°C last year).   The warmest night occurred on January 30 when the temperature was a rather warm 22°C, while on January 10 it dropped to a cooler 8°C.

Days were generally very warm to hot and smoky.  In fact, Gungahlin received 15 'smoke' days for the month, well above the yearly average of 2.  The average maximum for the month was 29.6°C (28.0°C last year).   The highest temperature was a hot 39°C, recorded on January 30, while on January 1 Gungahlin's maximum reached just 21°C.

Winds at the Weather Centre averaged at 4.8km/h during January, with the month's strongest gust 48.3km/h from the west, recorded on January 18.

Unfortunately, after a promising start to the new 'rainfall' year with 8.4mm falling in Gungahlin on January 1, the 'big dry' continued.   Just 8.6mm of rain fell at the Weather Centre during January, over 2 days.

Footnote: Tragically, 3 people were killed and some 474 homes were destroyed during the devastating bush fires that struck Canberra on January 18.  The fires, described by many as a once in a 100-year event, were started by lightning strikes in the nearby mountains, and fanned into Canberra suburbs by strong NW winds, low humidity and very high temperatures.

Gungahlin's February Outlook:  Current indications are for a very warm to hot February, with temperatures likely to be slightly above average.   Nights will be mild, and average at 14°C, while days should average at around 28°C.   Although rainfall looks like continuing to be below average, there are some encouraging signs that rainfall may improve towards the end of February and into March, as the current El Nino weather event continues to weaken.

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© Gungahlin Weather Centre - 2003.