Australia’s first burst of heatwave conditions for the summer will continue to see temperatures in multiple states hit the 40s amid a hazardous bushfire danger.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has warned of “extreme heatwave” conditions as a result of a hot air mass stretching across the country from the Kimberley region in Western Australia, down to Melbourne.
“This slow-moving trough is basically not going anywhere and so the air mass – the air that’s sitting in that region – is being warmed up and quite intensely,” meteorologist Neil Bennett said.
“Until we start to get a little bit of relief with the trough moving, nothing is going to change for the next three days.”
In Western Australia, Perth is forecast for a 25C sunny day, Broome is tipped to reach a maximum of 35C and Port Hedland will see a high of 42C.
Further inland, the mercury could jump as high as 46C in the Kimberley town of Fitzroy Crossing – about 400km east of Broome.
Local businessman John Rodrigues told Weatherzone that, while the approximately 1200 residents of Fitzroy Crossing are used to the heat, when the temperatures reach 46 “you can really feel it, even in your breathing”.
“You don’t see that very often, normally we get up to 44C – so it is going to be pretty unbearable especially at night time when it doesn’t cool down,” he said.
“You can see the bitumen – the roads get really sticky.
“A lot of the locals are elderly people that we need to keep an eye on to make sure they’re OK.”
The mercury in Fitzroy Crossing could rise as 47 by Saturday as a result of the heatwave, which would be a record-breaking December weather day for the town.
By 7am (local time) in Marble Bar, about 1040km south-west of Fitzroy Crossing, conditions had exceeded 34C and forecasts expect them to rise up to 46C – which would also be record-breaking for the Kimberley region.
The heat continues on from yesterday in the region, when the town of Argyle had their warmest day in 25 years at 44.7C, and Kalum-Baru broke an all-time record with a temperature of 42.2C.
Elsewhere, Adelaide copped another scorching day today after yesterday’s scorcher.
The South Australian capital hit 38C in parts, and above 40C in inland locations.
The combination of intense heat and gusty winds yesterday hampered firefighting efforts in South Australia, with blasts of up to 40km/h tipped to cause concern for firefighters again today.
In Victoria, Melbourne is also forecast to reach about 38C with Avalon expected to hit 40C.
North-western parts of the state could receive maximum temperatures of 42C.
Dean Narramore from the BoM told the Today show this morning that, despite the heat, a cooler change is on its way.
“A cool change is going to bring some relief to south-eastern Australia. It’s currently in far western South Australia near the Ceduna region,” he said.
“We should see a hot and windy 38C today in Adelaide before a cool change might get there sometime in the mid-afternoon but down in Victoria we won’t see the cool change at all until night item.”
The burst of heat also comes as much of central and northern Queensland are starting to cool slightly following a spate of consecutive days of 40-degree weather
The intense conditions worsened bushfire conditions around the state, leading to more than 110 blazes burning at the same time last week.
Both Cairns and Townsville in Far North Queensland are still forecast to reach temperatures of up to 35C each day for the next week.
Further south, however, in Brisbane the conditions are expected to stay around the 25C to 26C mark.
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