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Scorching January in Australia was hottest month on record

By
Nicholas Sakelaris
Beachgoers are seen on Glenelg beach during a hot day in Adelaide, Australia on January 22. Officials said January was the hottest month on record. Photo by Kelly Barnes/EPA-EFE
Beachgoers are seen on Glenelg beach during a hot day in Adelaide, Australia on January 22. Officials said January was the hottest month on record. Photo by Kelly Barnes/EPA-EFE

Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Roads melting, bats dropping frm the sky and fish nearly boiling in rivers were some of the peculiarities Australia saw in January, its hottest month on record.

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology confirmed the new record for mean, maximum and minimum temperatures in January.

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"There's been so many records it's really hard to count," ABM senior climatologist Andrew Watkins said in a statement.

New South Wales officials said rain is desperately needed to fill rivers where fish are dying from the heat, as too much water is being drained for agriculture.

The South Australian capital of Adelaide reached 116 degrees on Jan. 24, a new record for any major Australian city. The smaller city of Port Augusta also set a record the same day, at 121 degrees.

"We saw heatwave conditions affect large parts of the country through most of the month with records broken for both duration and also individual daily extremes," Watkins said.

A high-pressure system stalled over the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand that blocked cold fronts from reaching Australia's southern region. Rainfall was below average for most of the country, but a monsoon brought flooding to the northern Queensland state.

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The Daintree River reached a 118-year high this week and emergency services rescued 28 people from floodwaters, officials said.

"The vast bulk of the population will not have experienced this type of event in their lifetime," State Disaster Coordinator Bob Gee said.

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