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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Southern Australia’s heatwave expected to last well into the weekend

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CENTURIES old heat records are falling and there are fears the power grid might not cope. If you’re hoping for a break, we have some bad news.

SOUTHERN Australia is continuing to swelter during a spring heatwave with some areas experiencing a record breaking run of hot weather not seen for more than a century.

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Four capital cities are likely to see highs rising above the 30C mark on Thursday. In some places it could stay that way well into the weekend.

There have been warnings the electricity grid may not be able to cope with the heat as people crank up their airconditioners. While Victorians have been cautioned of a moderate risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma across the state.

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Sky News Weather’s Rachel Reyes said while the heat was dispersing in some areas it was hanging on elsewhere.

“For Thursday, it’s cooling down for Adelaide but it continues to be warm for both Melbourne and Hobart.”

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Melbourne is expected to reach 33C on Thursday, 11C above average for November; a sunny Perth will get to 31C; Hobart also 31C and Darwin, in the tropical north. will get to 33C.

Adelaide has come down from its previous highs and will top out at 24C on Thursday but it’s out of the frying pan and into the thunderstorm. A severe storm is warning is in place for heavy rain and damaging winds for Thursday afternoon.

Sydney will be a sunny 25C and Brisbane, which is hosting The Ashes, will see 26C with possible rain.

The Australian Energy Market Operator, which oversees the country’s main power grids, issued a notice yesterday that there was a lack of reserve energy capacity in Victoria.

The Level 1 warning is in effect for both Thursday and Friday afternoon when the heat will be at its most intense.

It doesn’t mean there will be blackouts in the state. But it does mean electricity supplies could struggle if there was a sudden spike in demand or a drop in power generation.

Tom Saunders, a meteorologist at Sky News Weather, said it wasn’t so much the high temperatures that were surprising, it was their persistence in staying high.

“Reliable daily temperature records have been kept at Hobart for over 130 years, and the most number of consecutive days above 26C recorded in spring is just three — until this week.

“Hobart has already enjoyed five days above 26C and is again forecast to hit at least 26C on Thursday, taking the tally to six days; a stretch not reached in any month, even summer, for 122 years.

“This week Melbourne is hitting the lazy low 30s, stock standard this close to summer, but again — like Hobart — it is the longevity of the warm spell which is unprecedented.”

Mr Saunders said the five consecutive days Melbourne has already seen above 28C from Saturday to Tuesday, plus the further two expected, would break an all-time spring record.

“The cause of this unseasonable warm spell is a blocking high over the southern Tasman Sea which is directing a hot northerly airstream over southeast Australia.”

There are worries that Victoria’s power supply may buckle in the unseasonably blistering conditions

The heatwave isn’t over yet, said Mr Saunders.

“A trough is currently moving like a snail through central South Australia, bringing a cooler southerly change which on current model projections should not reach Melbourne and Hobart until Sunday, extending the heatwave another three to four days.”

HOW LONG THE HEAT WILL LAST IN YOUR CITY

Melbourne

It’s rinse and repeat heatwave for the next few days. Expect highs of 33C with possible showers and storms until late Friday. On Saturday the mercury may dip slightly to 30C but it won’t be until Sunday at the earliest that the highs sink to the twenties. The break may be brief. By mid-next week, temperatures could rise once more above 30C.

Hobart

A high of 31C with some afternoon showers on Thursday. On Friday it could fall back to around 25C before heading back up to around the 27C mark for the weekend. Showers possible.

Perth

It’s going to be a hot weekend for the west with temperatures of between 31-32C and clear skies. A high of 29C on Monday is expected to drop into the mid-twenties by midweek.

Darwin

Hot and possibly stormy in the Top End. Highs of between 33C-35C for the next week.

WEEKEND WEATHER IN THE OTHER CENTRES

Adelaide

South Australians will get a break from the hot weather. A high of 24C on Thursday, 26C on Saturday and 24C for the weekend. Sunshine and possible showers.

Canberra

The capital is warming up. A high of 27C on Thursday should rise to 30C by Saturday before dropping back slightly. Sunny with some showers and a possible storm on the weekend.

Sydney

25C on Thursday and then a pleasant weekend with highs of 27C and mostly sunny ahead of a wetter week.

Brisbane

26C on Thursday rising to 28C for the weekend. Sunshine possibly interrupted by some showers.

Online Source News.com.au.

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