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ABC News

Mild Christmas Day forecast for Geraldton after record-breaking heatwave last year

Geraldton's record-breaking Christmas Day temperature caused footpaths to buckle in 2021, but experts say locals should enjoy a milder holiday this year. 

Peaking at 47.3 degrees Celsius, last year's maximum temperature surpassed Geraldton's previous Christmas Day weather record of 44C from 1915. 

The eye-watering temperature was just 0.4C short of Geraldton's warmest day ever. The current record of 47.7C was set on January 9, 1954. 

Unofficial temperature gauges across the Midwest exceeded 50C, with the heatwave triggering a 40-hour blackout in Northampton. 

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jessica Lingard said it would not be anywhere near as hot this year, with an expected maximum of 33C. 

"A trough is going to bring nice north-easterly winds down to the west coast, bringing those hotter temperatures from the Gascoyne and up into the Pilbara, down toward the west coast," she said. 

"The good news is, that trough does move inland over the weekend, meaning Christmas day is looking very pleasant for Geraldton." 

Ms Lingard said a similar trough was responsible for last year's history-making forecast. 

"Last year we saw this trough hanging around for three or four days, leading to this really intense build-up of heat through northern parts of the state, and then also dragging that hot air down onto the west coast," she said. 

Other parts of the Midwest could sweat through a warmer Christmas Day, with temperatures of about 40C forecast for Meekatharra, Mount Magnet, Gascoyne Junction and Dalwallinu. 

Shower and thunderstorm activity in the Kimberley could see other parts of the state enjoy an unseasonably cool Christmas, with about 29C predicted for Halls Creek. 

Ms Lingard said Geraldton was expected to live up to its reputation as "the windy city", suggesting residents plan their beach activities earlier in the day. 

"At the moment through the afternoon on the weekend it might be a little bit breezy, so we could see the afternoon sea breeze being a bit of a kicker," she said. 

"It’s very typical conditions for Geraldton this time of year."

Last year's heat-related power outages across the state triggered an independent review, which found many outages were extended as fire conditions prevented Western Power crews from making repairs. 

Since then, Western Power has worked with the Department of Fire and Emergency Services to ensure exemptions are in place to safely restore power on days when total fire bans are in place. 

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