Birds 'falling from trees' as Aussie town on verge of record heat streak

Locals say they've had to retreat indoors in the tiny outback town of about 630 people.

The history books are on the verge of being re-written with one Aussie town so hot that birds are reportedly falling from trees. Resident of Western Australia have been warned to brace for more extreme heat this weekend as one of the country's hottest towns continues to swelter through a brutal four-week stretch of daily maximum temperatures above 43C.

The temperature peaked at 45C in Marble Bar, in northwest Western Australia on Friday. If the streak continues through to Monday, it will be the town's longest run of consecutive days where the mercury has risen to such uncomfortable heights.

A map showing the heat distribution in West Australia (left). A bird seen lying on the ground (right).
According to one local, birds are not coping well with the ongoing heat. Source: Weatherzone/Twitter

Caravan park manager Cath Nation said the extreme heat was tough on the small outback town and most people retreated indoors by about 9am each day to escape it. But sadly, most wildlife don't have the same luxury and as a result have been paying the price.

"We've got birds dropping out of trees," she told AAP. "I was just taking a walk down near the camp kitchen and there were dead birds laying there, carked it, keeled over, too hot."

The latest streak of heat, could prove to be a record-breaker if it extends through Monday. "Impressively, this heatwave comes 100 years after Marble Bar's famous 160 day stretch above 37.8ºC," Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino pointed out on social media.

Over the New Year's Eve weekend, a scorching 49C was recorded at a local weather station while residents took photos in front of an unofficial heat reading at a local park claiming a temperature of 51C.

A temperature gauge showing a temperature of 51 degrees in Marble Bar in a local park.
A temperature gauge showing a temperature of 51 degrees in Marble Bar, WA on Friday, December 29, 2023. Source: AAP

The tiny town of about 630 people – often referred to as Australia's hottest town – has laboured through daily maximum temperatures of more than 36C since September 9, and 43C since December 19.

Meteorologist Jessica Lingard said Marble Bar's record for days above 43C in a row was 27, which happened in 2005 from January 6 to February 1. "We're nudging close to that record as we move through the weekend and into next week," she said.

Heatwave warning for much of WA this weekend

Temperatures in the town are expected to peak at 46C on Saturday and Sunday amid heatwave conditions across most of WA. Perth peaked at 36.5C on Friday and temperatures on Saturday and Sunday are expected to climb to 41C and 36C, respectively.

On Friday afternoon, the Bureau of Meteorology put out a heatwave warning for much of the state. "Extreme heatwave conditions are expected to ease early next week with severe heatwave conditions persisting into next week," the Bureau said.

"Locations likely to be impacted include the greater Perth metropolitan region, Bunbury, Collie, Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Manjimup, Margaret River, Merredin, Narrogin, Northam and Paraburdoo."

Ms Lingard said the heatwaves have been caused by an "atmospheric traffic jam" which forced a trough to hover over the WA coast.

with AAP

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