Thunderstorm asthma risk as Australia's east coast sweats through night

The scorching temperatures and high pollen count that kept many Sydneysiders up through the night has prompted total fire bans across all states and a major warning for asthma sufferers.

With Melbourne and Sydney expected to reach respective highs of 30C and 37C, residents are being reminded to stay hydrated and check on their elderly relatives and pets.

Rural Fire Service,  Inspector Ben Sheppard said forested areas up and down the east coast will be closely monitored.

“As this is the first heatwave of the season we’re encouraging people to check their property is prepared,” he said.

Sydneysiders get early taste of summer

Sydneysiders will be flocking to Bronte Beach today to escape the heat. Image: Getty

Four NSW regions taking in Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong are facing total fire bans as the state prepares for a sweltering spring day.

Temperatures in the major east coast centres are forecast to exceed 35C on Friday.

The expected heat and gusty morning winds are enough of a concern to prompt firefighters to implement the first total fire bans since mid-September.


Greater Sydney, Greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven and the Southern Ranges are all affected.

The NSW Rural Fire Service is warning of severe fire danger for the Illawarra and very high danger for much of the rest of the state.

 Asthma sufferers urged to prepare themselves

Asthma sufferers are being urged to prepare for the rising pollen count. Image: Getty

Parts of Victoria are expected to face a moderate risk of thunderstorm asthma, health officials say.

A warning shows there may be a high pollen count or a severe thunderstorm in certain areas on Friday, the Health Victoria website shows.

Regions at moderate risk include the Central, North Central, Northern Country, North East and Gippsland areas.


People who may develop symptoms are urged to avoid exposure to storms or high winds, have a reliever on hand and know their asthma action plan.

Authorities are on high alert to issue warnings to the community after 10 people died in Melbourne during a rare thunderstorm asthma event in November 2016.

Thunderstorm asthma happens when a large group of people experience asthma, often triggered by high pollen levels mixed with weather conditions.

Thunderstorms and sweltering heat to hit Queensland


Parts of Queensland are also set to swelter throughout the next week or so with Brisbane set for 30-degree days from Saturday through to Tuesday.

Areas in the state’s Central West could hit as high as 40C with Barcaldine, Longreach and Blackall all forecast to hit past the 40C mark over the weekend.

Birdsville is forecast to hit 43C on Friday, Saturday and Sunday while Dalby in the Darling Downs will see 37 degrees on Monday and Tuesday.

North Queensland through to the Central Queensland region should have similar temperatures to the southeast of high 20s to low 30s.

Severe thunderstorms with damaging wind gusts are also a chance to hit the southwest.