Australia is getting its first heatwave of the summer with the temperature expected to top 40C in many parts of the country.
WA’s heatwave is being driven east across the country, with temperatures to spike across inland and eastern Australia.
Bureau of Meteorology assistant director for weather services Alasdair Hainsworth says widespread temperatures in the high-30s and low-40s are forecast for large parts of the country, particularly inland Australia.
“This is the first heatwave of the summer, so it’s important to stay hydrated and avoid prolonged exposure to heat,” Mr Hainsworth said in a statement on Wednesday.
He said the fire danger was expected to be very high to extreme across several states.
Perth had a run of five days above 35C with temperatures peaking at 40C on Saturday.
The temperature will get to the mid-40s in South Australia on Wednesday while the north of Victoria will reach the low-40s on Thursday and Friday.
Inland NSW is also expected to get to the high-30s and low-40s on Thursday with the heatwave continuing into early next week in the state’s north.
The bureau says a large high pressure system in the Tasman Sea is moving slowly eastwards and directing northerly winds over much of central Australia, which is driving the heat in a south-easterly direction.
A trough of low pressure will approach southeastern Australia towards the end of the week, causing winds to increase ahead of a cool change forecast on Friday.
AUSTRALIA’S DECEMBER HEATWAVE
• Perth had five-day run above 35C to December 16
• Peak 40C Saturday
• Mid-40s Wednesday, becoming more widespread Thursday, before gradually shifting towards the northeast on Saturday
• Adelaide forecast peak 40C Thursday
• In north high-30s Wednesday and low-40s Thursday and Friday, before gradually easing following a cool change Friday afternoon.
• Melbourne forecast peak 40C Thursday
• High-30s and low-40s over inland areas Thursday, continuing into early next week over northern parts of state
• Western Sydney forecast peak 39C Friday
• Canberra forecast peak 37C Friday