Heat blast today before Christmas change

Click or flick across for some great reader photos from yesterday's storm (iPhone app users can tap the 'Photos' tab).

CHRISTMAS shoppers will endure one more blast of scorching temperatures before respite comes in the form of a cool change later today.

Albury-Wodonga has baked in above-average temperatures in the lead-up to Christmas, prompting a total fire ban in the southern Riverina yesterday.

A brief but fierce thunderstorm saw hot temperatures dip yesterday afternoon but Albury only dropped as low as 21.5 degrees overnight.

The Bureau of Meteorology recorded no rain and winds of up to 54km/h in Albury yesterday, although other parts of the region were lashed by heavy rain, hail and much stronger gusts of winds.

In Thurgoona, parents Kinta and Rick Gitsham were thankful their two-year-old daughter was not hurt when a neighbour's tree crashed into their back yard, crushing a trampoline and narrowly missing their home (pictures above).

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Terry Ryan said the cool change should reach the Border about 5pm today as shoppers complete their last-minute purchases.

The forecast for Christmas Day is a pleasant 29 degrees with the chance of a shower or two in the morning.

“The cloud cover will help keep the temperatures down from the magical 40 mark,” Mr Ryan said.

“The change is probably going to come through in the afternoon.

“It will move slowly through the western parts of the state overnight and then get a bit of a kick along.”

WEATHER:Local temperatures right now.

VIDEO: Click play to watch reader footage from @AlburyBibleChurch of wind and rain lash the Border (not available on iPhone all).

The run of cooler temperatures will continue throughout the week in a major boost for organisers of annual Christmas-New Year events.

Fine weather with a top temperature of 29 degrees is also forecast for the Boxing Day races at Wodonga before returning to 30 degrees for the start of the Murray River canoe marathon at Yarrawonga on Thursday.

The early prediction for New Year’s Eve celebrations, which include the Albury trots and Wodonga fireworks at Birallee Park, is for a top temperature in the low 30s.

Mr Ryan said the latest run of hot weather, which started on Saturday, wasn’t uncommon for the Border.

“It’s not unusual to get locked into those heat waves along the Murray,” he said.

“The average maximum temperature for the area is about 30 odd so you do have to expect some days below that.

“There is not a lot of super hot air around for a few days.”

Mr Ryan said temperatures would slowly warm up again before New Year’s Eve, but they would be cooler than recent years.

“We’ve had some really hot ones over the past six or seven years,” he said.

“But this one doesn’t look so bad.

“It will be low 20s in the south of the state and getting up to the low 30s in the north.”

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