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Not for the faint-hearted: Geraldton breaks records in sweltering 47.3C Christmas Day

Geraldton resembled the middle of the Sahara Desert on Christmas Day, with its searing peak of 47.3C breaking many records and making it the hottest place in WA and Australia.

Not only was Geraldton’s maximum temperature, reached at 12.12pm on Saturday, the city’s Geraldton’s hottest Christmas Day on record — the previous mark was 44C in 1915 — but it was the hottest December day ever, surpassing the 46.8C recorded on Boxing Day in 1997.

This hellish conditions made Perth’s record Christmas Day temperature of 42.8C look relatively mild in comparison.

For many locals, it was the hottest day in their living memory. It was so hot on Saturday that it was only 0.4C cooler than Geraldton’s hottest day ever, recorded 47.7C on January 9, 1954.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, it was the equal second hottest day for Geraldton, equalling the 47.3C recorded on February 20, 1985 and January 5, 1969.

Many household and car thermometers and street gauges in the Mid West recorded even higher temperatures on Saturday, with some surpassing 50C such as street weather signs in Kalbarri and Northampton which posted highs of 52-53C.

For most, it was too hot to venture out beyond the air-conditioning and enjoy normal Christmas Day traditions, like a trip to the beach or even a game of backyard cricket.

The owner of Drywell Plants in Northampton remarked it was “the hottest day that I’ve ever experienced in the 16 years of living in Northampton. Was absolutely shocking having to go out in it to board up my broken shop windows.”

Ann Kennedy from Geraldton posted: “On my patio it hit 50. Could have been hotter, my gauge only when up to 50. The hottest day out here in years.”

In other parts of the Mid West, Jurien Bay recorded its hottest day ever on Christmas Day with 46C, surpassing 45.2C on New Year’s Eve in 1991, while Kalbarri endured a new December record of 46.5C, smashing the previous high of 44C on December 11, 2006.

Other parts of the region that sweltered through Christmas Day 2021 included Mingenew (46.1C), Northampton (46.7C), Regan’s Ford (46.6C) and Binnu West (47.1C).

Geraldton’s Boxing Day forecast of 43C is unlikely to break any records, with the previous December 26 record of 46.8C set in 1997.

But it’s still a scorcher. At 11.30am, the gauge at Geraldton Airport hit 44.1C.

Geraldton’s heatwave continues with temperatures of 40C forecast on Monday and Tuesday and 38C on Wednesday before cooler temperatures arrive. The New Year’s Day forecast for Geraldton is a mild 28C.

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