Border heat near record

THE Border narrowly avoided setting its highest average temperature last year, unlike many other areas of the nation.

Albury’s average temperature was 23.2 degrees, just short of 2009’s 23.3 — the hottest since 1973, when records were first kept at Albury Airport.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the national temperature was 1.2 degrees above the long-term average of 21.8, making last year the hottest since records began in 1910.

The bureau’s manager of climate monitoring and predictions, David Jones, said temperatures on the Border were on trend with NSW, which had its second hottest year since 2009.

Victoria had its third hottest year.

Dr Jones said while 2009’s temperature was explained by a drought that plagued the Border at the time and an El Nino weather pattern, rainfall last year was only slightly below the average.

“It hasn’t been a great year, but it been hasn’t been as severe as in 1914 and 2009,” he said.

With neither a El Nino nor La Nina weather pattern influencing rainfall, last year was a neutral year — natural variability was not a factor in the hot conditions.

The bureau’s annual review made mention of the tornado that slammed into Mulwala, Cobram and Yarra- wonga in March.

Wangaratta-based long-range forecaster John Moore doubted the bureau’s figures for the Border, saying that with the record starting in 1973, they might not represent a true picture.

“The records don’t go back far enough,” he said.

“The other point of view is that in the past 20 years, temperature recording stations have been moved to airports in a more open space.

“One would assume temperatures would be higher there so it is not a true comparison.”

Mr Moore predicted a wet year ahead with above-average rainfall.

“It could be on the too wet side and we could see some flooding,” he said.

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