Aussies warned as heatwaves, cyclones hit

Sky Weather meteorologist Bradlyn Oakes. Picture: Sky Weather
Sky Weather meteorologist Bradlyn Oakes. Picture: Sky Weather

It’s officially summer in Australia, and millions of people are expected to cop the full gambit of summertime weather extremes in just the first week of the season, with heatwaves and a potential cyclone on the cards.

A band of high intensity pressure over central and northern Australia this week will see extreme temperatures in many outback regions, stretching as far down as Queensland’s southeast.

Parts of Western Australia and South Australia at their shared border will get up to about 45C on Wednesday, with pockets of regional SA also experiencing the extreme heat into Thursday.

Sky Weather meteorologist Bradlyn Oakes. Picture: Sky Weather
Sky Weather meteorologist Bradlyn Oakes showing how the extreme high pressure system will bring hot weather to the outback and southern states over this week. Picture: Sky Weather

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Dean Narramore said heat will also start moving into inland NSW.

“We’re looking at temperatures 8 to 14 degrees higher than the December average maximums,” Mr Narramore said.

“Tarcoola reached 45.5C [on Tuesday] … Woomera also reached 45 degrees. It’ll peak around Thursday and Friday … and then we’re going to see some relief on Saturday, and Sunday into New South Wales.”

He predicts the heat could even reach as far as Penrith, in Western Sydney, with a forecast top of 42C on Saturday.

Sky Weather meteorologist Bradlyn Oakes said while the cooler shift on the weekend will be welcome, it comes with a risk of increased wind.

“We’re going to watch as heatwave conditions move from the northwest into the southeast, and with the heat and the dry conditions our fire danger increases going forward,” Ms Oakes said.

“We’re watching for some areas of South Australia to be at extreme fire danger, also some high fire danger back into New South Wales.”

heatwave conditions this week bureau of meteorology
Heatwave conditions are likely to impact much of Australia in the latter half of the week. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

Meanwhile, Queensland authorities are keeping an eye on the Coral Sea with a tropical low moving from the Solomon Islands down towards Australia.

It’s forecast the low will become a category one Tropical Cyclone some time late on Tuesday, becoming the first tropical cyclone of the 2023-24 season.

BOM said it’s moving in a south-south-westerly direction, and while it’s too early for a detailed forecast, there is “a chance” the system could impact the Queensland coast in the coming week.

Cyclone Presser
BOM Senior Meteorologist Laura Boekel said it’s unusual for a tropical cyclone to develop this early in an El Nino year. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

BOM Senior meteorologist Laura Boekel said if it does intensify, it will be named Tropical Cyclone Jasper.

“This system is developing and it is intensifying,” Ms Boekel said in a media conference on Tuesday.

“The current official forecast track does have it developing into a tropical cyclone and it also has it intensifying as well into a severe cyclone.

“It’s very rare to see a cyclone developing earlier in the season when we have El Nino. This will be the first time that we’ve seen a tropical cyclone in Queensland waters in December in an El Nino year.”