Australia Day weather: Sweltering 40C heatwave is here to stay

Ash Cant
·4-min read

A heatwave is setting in across the southeast of Australia, with temperatures expected to soar past 40 degrees in some parts and relief still days away.

Severe conditions hit South Australia - including Adelaide - and regional Victoria on Sunday, with some areas copping temperatures above 40C.

Port Augusta, 300km north of Adelaide, will likely be the hottest place in the country, with a temperature of 45 degrees on Sunday.

Lots of people seen sitting on beach.
Severe conditions hit South Australia - including Adelaide - and regional Victoria on Sunday, with some areas copping temperatures above 40C. Source: AAP

The rest of Victoria, Tasmania and western and southern parts of NSW will see their hottest temperatures on Monday, with Melbourne expected to hit 40. Hobart will record 34 degrees.

The mercury will climb even higher on Tuesday for eastern NSW and parts of Sydney, which will reach at least 34 degrees on Tuesday.

For the most part, this summer has seen milder temperatures, so the high temperatures will feel especially uncomfortable, the Bureau of Meteorology's Jonathan How said.

"We're not expecting it to be record-breaking at this stage but those really hot days and really warm nights will be quite a shock for many people, particularly because it's been a fairly cool summer so far," he said.

NSW to see no relief for days

In NSW on Sunday, temperatures hit 37C in Sydney's west and 41C at Hay in the state's western Riverina region by 3pm.

Gabrielle Woodhouse, senior meteorologist BOM, said during a press conference that NSW will see temperatures up to 16 degrees higher than average.

The state will experience severe to extreme heatwave conditions in the coming days, particularly in the southeast areas of NSW.

“In terms of temperatures we're going to see, they're going to be, you know, anywhere between about eight to 16 degrees above average,” Ms Woodhouse said.

“That's for both daytime and nighttime.”

Australia Day weather: West Sydney to hit 41C

On Australia Day on Tuesday, temperatures may fall to between 38 and 41 in western Sydney and around 32 in the city due to a sea breeze.

Canberra is also forecast to swelter, reaching the mid-30s before an evening shower.

NSW won’t see any relief until late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning, when a trough arrives bringing a cool change.

Boys jump from rocks into ocean.
The heat is expected to linger in NSW, with temperatures already hitting 37 in Sydney on Sunday. Source: AAP

NSW Ambulance warning for ‘unprecedented heat’

Inspector Kay Armstrong from NSW Ambulance warned people to be vigilant amid the scorching heatwave by looking after themselves and their pets.

“Obviously at the moment we've got some high temperatures in the Sydney area, we need to be vigilant and carry water with us and stay indoors,” she said.

“Make sure if you're elderly or even young that you cater for that.”

Insp Armstrong warned people not to go out in the middle of the day or sit on the beach during the heat. She encouraged people to instead stay inside with their aircon and fans on.

She said NSW Ambulance has seen an “extra volume” of calls, especially on coastal areas, after crowds flocked to Sydney’s beaches over the weekend.

Just like with the heat, Insp Armstrong urged people to maintain vigilance in the water.

Lifeguards watching people swim in Bondi
People in NSW are being urged to remain vigilant during the heatwave and when in water. Source: AAP

“We've had a lot of medical emergencies and drownings in the recent weeks with the higher temperatures,” she said.

“Be vigilant around waterways wear life jackets on the coast if you're doing a risky activity. Make sure you know where you're going, don't take risks and make sure you know how big water is how fast it's flying.”

The heatwave also has lifesavers on high alert, with Surf Life Saving NSW chief executive Steven Pearce saying this is "probably the weekend we've been looking out for".

Severe and extreme heatwaves have claimed more lives than any other natural hazard in Australia, BOM warns.

“Each year, extreme heat exacerbates pre-existing medical conditions and causes heat-related illness,” the Bureau says.

“Children, people aged over 65, those taking some medications that affect the body’s ability to cope with heat, people living alone and people who are socially isolated are among those most affected.”

With AAP

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