Extreme Temperature Diary- Wednesday December 6th, 2023/Main Topic: Australia Roasts from Their First Summer Heatwave

Heatwave to spread across Australia this week with 40C temperatures expected in some areas | Australia weather | The Guardian

Heatwave to spread across Australia this week with 40C temperatures expected in some areas

Extremely hot weather not expected to break records but half the country can expect unrelenting high temperatures, especially SA and WA

By Emily Wind

Half of Australia will be blanketed in a widespread heatwave by the end of this week, enduring days of high temperatures with little reprieve.

A cool change will begin making its way across the country at the weekend but high temperatures will continue for much of inland New South Wales.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s three-day heatwave map shows that until Thursday, an extreme heatwave is likely at the South Australia and Western Australia border, and through parts of the Kimberley.

For Wednesday to Friday the temperature map shows a low-intensity heatwave spreading across large swathes of the country – from Broome in WA across parts of the Northern Territory, South Australia and Queensland, and east to Canberra and Sydney.

Severe heatwave conditions will also be felt across these states but will be concentrated in most of NSW, all of inland South Australia and southern Queensland.

A BoM senior meteorologist, Miriam Bradbury, said remote parts of SA and WA were feeling the heat on Wednesday, with some locations expected to reach at least 40C, “if not pushing towards the mid to high 40s”.

These high-40 temperatures were already beginning to spread into northwestern NSW and southern Queensland on Wednesday.

“We do measure [heatwaves] over a three-day period because one hot day most people can manage but it’s when it’s persistent for days on end that it starts to get really intense,” Bradbury said.

The hot conditions in NSW and Queensland will intensify over the coming days, with severe heatwave conditions reaching the east coast by the end of the week – across parts of Sydney, the Illawarra and Newcastle.

Bradbury said temperatures in these areas will reach the low 30s before pushing into the high 30s and low 40s by Friday.

Capital cities are expected to avoid the worst of the heatwave, with rural and remote areas to be hit hardest.

The BoM isn’t expecting any temperature records to be broken. Bradbury explained that while a hot summer day brings spikes in temperatures, a heatwave is more about days of unrelenting heat.

She said people may see a temperature reading in the late 30Cs and think “you know, last summer we had a 42-degree day and we managed” but the difference was that this heat would persist.

“It just takes a real toll on the body and the health system, and you can’t recover overnight because the nights themselves are sitting in the mid 20s,” she said. “There’s no recovery period, which really does take a toll.”

A cool change is expected to reach southern WA on Friday. This will shift temperatures to below-average, and sweep across much of SA, Victoria, Tasmania and south-west NSW on Saturday.

In SA, Woomera is set to drop from 46C on Friday to 24C on Saturday.

In the outback NSW town of Broken Hill, temperatures are forecast to fall from 43C on Friday to 33C on Saturday, while Penrith in western Sydney will fall from 42C on Saturday to 28C on Sunday.

The cool change won’t come to all of NSW. Bradbury said the heat could persist until early next week.

“There is some relief for coastal parts but inland parts of the state [will] really, really [struggle] to cool,” she said. “They might be going from the low 40s on Saturday and Sunday back to the high 30s early next week, so very little relief.

“We do expect those heatwave conditions to persist through NSW into next week, even as they ease in other parts of the country.”

The BoM is expecting some showers and possible thunderstorms as the cool change moves across the country from the weekend. This is expected to reach Victoria, Tasmania and south-east SA from Friday.

Patchy showers may hit the NSW coast at the weekend before the cool change but rainfall totals will be fairly low compared with last week’s heavy rain, Bradbury said.

Tropical cyclone Jasper has formed over the Coral Sea, with the potential to reach the Queensland coast at the weekend or early next week.

The cyclone, which is moving away from the Solomon Islands, is expected to reach category three this evening and intensify to category four late on Thursday.

The BoM said the highest risk area was in the region north of Mackay, with alerts to be issued when it reached the coast.

Bom tracking map of tropical cyclone Jasper off Queensland, Australia. The weather bureau says the storm is expected to bring intense wind and rain as it approaches the Qld coast.

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