A widespread heatwave across four states and territories has prompted warnings from health officials, as millions celebrate the beginning of the Australia Day long weekend.
Residents in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory have been warned to expect low-level and severe heatwaves conditions on Friday.
NSW Health urged residents to make sure they stay cool and drink plenty of water, with the mercury tipped to reach as high as 45C on the state’s Mid North Coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecast the regional capital of Newcastle will hit a whopping 41C on Australia Day, as inland areas and the coast swelter though the mid-40s.
In Sydney, residents are being warned to expect blistering heats of up to 38C on Friday.
At just 5am, the CBD was at almost 28C.
Area’s in the city’s west are bracing for the worst of the heatwave.
It comes as Queenslanders brace for a hot, stormy, and dangerous Australia Day holiday, as ex-cyclone Killiby helps to push hot air out over the state’s populous east coast.
Brisbane is forecast to reach 33C on Friday, but is one of the few areas not set too cool off on Saturday as the mercury was to rise again then to 37C.
During the week, large swathes of the state braced for widespread severe and extreme heat. Birdsville has had four days over 40C, with a high on Tuesday of 47.9C.
Large swathes of Central and South Australia were expected to see heatwave conditions on Friday, including Alice Springs, Jervois, and Oodnadatta
Critically, the Bureau warned that for many residents, including in Sydney and Brisbane, hot overnight temperatures could prove to be stifling.
Brisbane will dip only as low as 26C over the weekend, while Sydney will swelter through overnight temperatures in the low-20s.
Cyclone wrecks havoc on holiday plans
Severe weather warnings were still in place and 55,000 homes without power in QLD after ex-tropical cyclone Killiby was downgraded.
The cyclone, the second to batter the area in as many months, had weakened on Australia Day to a tropical low, according to BOM.
Nonetheless, forecasters warned that as the storm tracked inland into the weekend it could still result in damaging rains and winds.
⚠️ A Severe Weather Warning has been re-issued for inland North Queensland. Ex-Tropical Cyclone Kirrily is expected to produce heavy to locally intense rainfall and possible damaging winds over the warning area today. Details at https://t.co/m0qLcbkBhGpic.twitter.com/aZugRvQPDd
— Bureau of Meteorology, Queensland (@BOM_Qld) January 25, 2024
Ergon energy reported more than 55,000 homes were still without power on Friday, with a further 1000 in the Brisbane region.
Concerns in the Sunshine State had largely turned now to rainfall and possible flooding over the Australia Day long weekend.
Flood warnings were in place on Friday for the Herbert, Moonie, Paroo, Bulloo, Cooper, Diamantina, and Norman Rivers.
Warnings stretched into the Northern Territory where Killiby was headed next, with flood warnings for the Daly and Victoria rivers.
Temperatures in the south
Melbourne is expected to avoid the heatwave, with highs of 22C forecast on Friday and up to 24C Sunday. The heat is expected to ramp up in the city on Monday when a maximum temperature of 31C is forecast.
Adelaide is expected to reach 24C on Friday and Saturday, before reaching 28C on Sunday.
Tasmania is not forecast to be impacted by the heatwave, with showers and a high of 21C in Hobart on both Friday and Saturday. The hottest day in Hobart is expected to be Monday, when the temperature is set to climb to 28C.