Heat to stick around Cairns but relief is coming
CAIRNS baked during the weekend and there's little sign of a reprieve on the way this week.
The temperature in Cairns yesterday reached 35.2C, which was the highest the mercury went all weekend and almost 2C higher than forecast.
Relative humidity was 56 per cent just before noon in Cairns yesterday, and the temperature outdoors felt more like 39C.
The city sweltered also on Saturday, with the temperature rising over 33C at lunch time and only dipping below 30C well after 7pm.
It was a hot weekend over the rest of the Far North as well, with Atherton, Cardwell, Innisfail and most of the Cape notching more than 35C with barely a drop of rain.
But the westerly winds that brought long and hot days during the past week have been replaced by a southeasterly, which should bring some slight comfort this week.
"The southeasterly has the dual effect of making the air mass slightly cooler but also bringing in more moisture," weather bureau duty forecaster Gordon Banks said.
Most of the isolated showers this week will fall about the coast and ranges, but there'll be little for farmers and residents inland.
"I know a lot of the farmers on the Tablelands wanted some follow-up rain after the heavy falls late last month but there's not a lot of good news for them in the next week," Mr Banks said.
"This lack of rainfall is likely to persist through much of February."
Last month, Australia smashed the previous January record for highest national mean temperature by 1.77C.
Cairns usually averages just one day over 35C in January, but last month the mercury tipped that temperature on six days.
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Cooling it: Mitchell siblings Paige, 8 and Kobi, 4, at Cairns Coconut Resort water park. Picture: BRENDAN FRACIS