Heating up

By Daniel Hughes

The district got its first taste of what summer is going to be like this year, with the mercury soaring to over 40°C.

Paired with wind gusts of more than 65km/h, it prompterd the first offical cease harvest alert of the season from the NSW Rural Fire Service.

‘‘I strongly urge people to stay inside and get out of the paddock when we have conditions like we did yesterday,’’ RFS MId Murray Inspector Doug Adamson said.

‘‘It’s important people realise that the use of any machinery, especially heavy machinery, can cause fuel to overheat and start fires.

‘‘Even utes and cars will need to be monitored for this reason too.

‘‘We have a grain harvesting guide available which provides guidance on when you should stop harvesting.’’

The fire danger alert level in the region yesterday was ‘severe’ , with the warning that ‘‘leaving early is the safest option for your survival’’.

Just 75km away over the Victorian border, where different fire danger conditions means the ratings differ, the neighbouring state was on a catastrophic ‘red alert’ level.

As a result, all Echuca schools were closed for the day and bus services to nearby Moama schools on the NSW side of the river were also cancelled.

Conditions have been building gradually to the severe weather experienced yesterday, with tops just shy of 35°C and 38°C on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively.

Wednesday’s sweltering conditions mean the Deniliquin Swim Centre and McLean Beach were popular after school destinations.

‘‘This is our go-to spot to beat the heat,’’ high school student Olivia Redden told the Pastoral Times when it visited McLean Beach on Wednesday.

‘‘When it gets this hot we usually come to the beach because there’s lots of room, its the best spot to go.

‘‘I like the heat so we’ll come here a lot this summer.’’

At the time of going to print yesterday, the temperature was sitting at 42°C, which is much higher than the long term average maximum temperature for November of 27.5°C recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology.

It was not far off the highest top November temperature ever recorded by the Bureau, which is 44.2°C recorded on November 22, 1888.

The weather conditions are expected to ease off from today, with a top of only 30°C followed by 29°C tomorrow and 31°C Sunday.