January was officially Australia’s hottest month on record

Australia has sweltered through its hottest month on record in January and the summer of extremes continues with wildfires razing the drought-parched south while expanses of the tropical north are flooded.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology on Friday confirmed the record heat during January as parts of the northern hemisphere have recently experienced record cold.

Australia’s scorching start to 2019 — in which the mean temperature across the country for the first time exceeded 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) — followed Australia‘s third-hottest year on record. Only 2005 and 2013 were warmer than 2018.

Rainfall was below average for most of the country, but the monsoonal trough has brought flooding rains to northern Queensland state in recent days, leading to a disaster declaration around the city of Townsville.

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