Sydney and Melbourne are about to bake as temperatures in Australia’s biggest cities soar above 40 degrees.
The prolonged heatwave which swept across south-eastern Australia two weeks ago is returning, which is bound to cause blackouts as residents switch on their home air conditioning to get some relief from the intense heat.
Temperatures in Sydney are expected to remain unusually high for five consecutive days with Penrith, in the city’s far west, set for a 43C scorching during a heatwave that is expected to last until Tuesday.
Residents in the major capital cities are being warned about bushfires, with the Bureau of Meterology describing the chance of a blaze in Sydney and Melbourne as ‘very high’.
Weatherzone senior meteorologist Jacob Cronje said that unlike the first week of January – when the mercury in Penirth soared to 47C to be the hottest place on earth – there won’t be strong winds this time.
‘I would say it’s a stagnant heat,’ he told Daily Mail Australia on Thursday. ‘That’s going to feel very uncomfortable.
‘We’re quite likely to see very high 30s or 40s on Friday and Saturday, possibly even Sunday.
‘Then immediately ahead of a cool change on Tuesday or late Monday evening, we will see temperatures peak in the low 40s in places like Penrith and western Sydney – 43 expected at this point in Penrith on Monday.’
Melbourne won’t be spared either, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a maximum temperature on Thursday and Friday or 39C, which Mr Cronje said could soar to 42C today in the city centre.
‘The wind is not coming off the bay at all. It’s a dry heat but it’s still intense, especially for those at the tennis at the moment,’ Mr Cronje said.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast ‘an intense burst of heat’ as a high-pressure system makes its way across the country from Western Australia.
‘We will see very hot conditions building and … we’ll see the heat really intensify,’ meteorologist Jonathan How said. ‘Temperatures will be in the low to mid-40s for a very broad area.’
A light cold front is expected to bring some relief to Victoria and South Australia on Friday, but New South Wales will not receive any respite from searing temperatures.
‘The temperature will be in the low to mid 40s in western Sydney from Thursday, and will stick around until early next week.’
Wentworth in south-west New South Wales is forecast to reach 42C on Thursday and Broken Hill in the far west is set to hit 40C.
Penrith in western Sydney will reach 42C on Friday and Saturday, while Ivanhoe in central New South Wales will reach 44C on Saturday.
Northerly winds will drag the high-pressure system from the outback towards the coast creating nightmare conditions for firefighters who are urging residents to prepare for the worst.
‘The forecast heatwave will elevate the risk of fire and total fire bans are likely to be declared for some areas, so I urge residents to consider how they will be impacted and begin making their preparations today,’ Rural Fire Service commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.
‘We have seen in the past few days fires, like the one at Port Stephens, spread quickly and threaten communities with little warning.’
A bushfire in Port Stephens, north of Sydney, burned through 1900 hectares and forced the closure of Newcastle airport on Sunday.
The winds are not expected to be as strong as they were during the extremely hot start to January.
Penrith experienced the highest temperature ever record in a Sydney suburb on January 7, as the mercury reached 47.3C.
Further south in Melbourne the heat was so strong it melted part of the Hume Highway, causing traffic jams as drivers dodged the sticky mess.
South Australia and Victoria experienced their worst fire weather in more than two years as hot and dry air was dragged across southern Australia by northwesterly winds.
Source: The Daily Mail