Australia extreme heatwave: records broken for highest minimum temperatures

  15 January 2019    Read: 1146
Australia extreme heatwave: records broken for highest minimum temperatures

All-time highest minimum temperatures have been broken in three places as a heatwave sets in across much of Australia, threatening more record hot days.

Meekatharra in Western Australia and Fowlers Gap and White Cliffs in New South Wales all registered an overnight minimum of 33C on Monday.

Severe to extreme heatwave conditions extending from the interior of WA across South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and NSW will bring maximum temperatures of 8C to 12C above average, and in some places up to 16C above average before the end of the week.

From Tuesday through to Friday, parts of South Australia, Victoria and NSW may break January heat records, with daytime maximums extending up to the mid-40s.

“It’s quite a significant heatwave because we are expecting a number of records to fall across those areas for both minimum and maximum temperatures,” said Dean Sgarbossa, a senior meteorologist with the Bureau of Meteorology.

South Australia is forecast to have three days of severe to extreme heat, with Tarcoola in the central part of the state expecting a top of 48C on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In Adelaide, where the heat is affecting cycling’s Tour Down Under, temperatures were likely to reach 41C later on Tuesday and 40C on Wednesday.

In Victoria, severe to extreme heatwave conditions were forecast through to Friday and several locations across the state’s north were expected to reach or exceed maximum January temperature records.

Rutherglen, Yarrawonga, Echuca, Shepparton and Mildura were all expected to reach 46C later on Tuesday.

In Melbourne, where the Australian Open is under way, coastal breezes are keeping the heat to the low and mid-30s, after reaching 37C on Monday. However, the city’s outer suburbs will see temperatures into the 40s over the next couple of days.

The ACT is expecting three days in a row of maximum temperatures above 40C from Wednesday, and NSW will bear the brunt of the heatwave later in the week when a large area of extreme heat conditions hits densely populated areas.

“The entirety of the state of NSW will experience severe heatwave conditions for the majority of this week,” Sgarbossa said.

Several areas across western NSW are expecting temperatures above 45C from Tuesday and all the way through to the weekend.

The Bom said that while the heat in coastal areas in the east of the state was tempered by sea breezes, high humidity would make the days ahead feel hotter than the temperature suggested.

Sydney was forecast to reach 30C on Tuesday, 32C on Wednesday and 34C by Friday, before a cool change.

But some western suburbs would exceed 40C for much of the week.

“What’s going to be unique about NSW is overnight temperatures will be unusually warm across large areas of inland NSW, with some locations in the far west staying above 30C,” Sgarbossa said.

Much of the country had elevated fire danger ratings on Tuesday and that is expected to continue through the week.

The Bom is forecasting a cooler change to start moving across through much of the heatwave-affected area from Friday.


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