Australia’s post-Christmas heatwave continues to sweep across the country, with a near record-breaking 49C forecast for Western Australia, and fire danger, health and air quality warnings issued across the nation.
On Thursday morning, the bureau of meteorology forecast a scorching 49C maximum for Marble Bar and Pannawonica in the Pilbara region of WA – only 2 degrees below the highest temperature ever recorded in Australia, which is 50.7C at South Australia’s Oodnadatta airport in 1960.
By 8.40am on Thursday Marble Bar had already recorded 43.4C, with the worst of the heat to come.
The extreme heat is stretching across WA, SA, Victoria, New South Wales and parts of central Queensland. Temperatures in the south are 10C to 14C higher than average, the bureau said on Wednesday.
On Thursday SA will swelter through widespread 40C temperatures, with Adelaide forecast for a maximum of 41C and 46C for Port Augusta and Coober Pedy.
In Sydney the city centre is expected to reach 29C, with 39C for Penrith in the west. Further inland, Dubbo is slated for 42C and the Riverina region for 44C. At the weekend Sydney temperatures are forecast to reach 32C on Saturday and 34C on Sunday.
Melbourne is forecast to experience a maximum of 36C on Thursday, while further across Victoria, Mildura can expect 44C and Albury-Wodonga 42C.
On Monday, the Woodend Country Fire Association in Victoria posted a video of residents cooling off with a neighbourhood water fight.
On Thursday NSW Health issued an air quality warning for Sydney as ozone levels began to rise with the extreme heat.
NSW Health’s executive director, Jeremy McAnulty, said ozone exposure irritated the lungs, so people with asthma and other sensitivities should take extra care.
Severe to extreme fire danger warnings have also been issued for large parts of WA, SA and Victoria.
And, according to the bureau’s latest forecasts, there is no end to the heatwave in sight.
From Friday to Tuesday, low to severe heatwaves are still predicted for parts of every mainland state and territory – from the north-west coast of WA to central Queensland, to the south coast of Victoria. The extreme heatwave conditions forecast to hit WA, NSW and SA will abate.
Courtesy of theguardian.com