A widespread and intense heatwave is currently impacting extensive areas of Australia, with certain inland regions expected to endure the highest temperatures since the devastating 2019-2020 black summer bushfires, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The warning extends to parts of Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, and the Northern Territory.
Already, some areas have experienced scorching temperatures peaking in the mid-40s on Tuesday, and the Bureau anticipates that this wave of extreme heat will persist. Maximum and minimum temperatures are forecasted to be 5 to 12 degrees Celsius above average throughout the remainder of the week. Senior meteorologist Dean Narramore of the Bureau of Meteorology highlighted that Thursday and Friday will bring exceptionally high temperatures to northern South Australia, southwest Queensland, and northern New South Wales, with readings reaching the mid to high 40s.
Cities such as Newcastle and Moree in NSW are expected to face consecutive days of nearly 40°C temperatures, while areas like Walgett in the north-west slopes and plains may reach 42°C. Moreover, some parts of upper western NSW, including Wilcannia, could experience peak temperatures of 46°C. Narramore notes that such heat levels were prevalent during the black summer bushfires, resembling conditions where 40°C temperatures occurred regularly over several months.
Despite the intensity of the heat, a cooling change is anticipated by late Friday and into the weekend for inland areas of New South Wales. Peter Thurtell, the NSW emergency operations controller, has urged residents to prioritize their well-being and support one another during these challenging conditions.
Health authorities in NSW have issued warnings about the health risks posed by heatwaves, particularly for individuals aged over 65. They advise people to stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day, avoid unnecessary outdoor activities, and stay well-hydrated.
As Australia Day approaches, Sydneysiders can expect temperatures in the mid-30s, with Penrith reaching a maximum of 39°C. Meanwhile, Canberra is forecasted to experience a high of 33°C on Thursday, with temperatures cooling to 26°C on Friday, accompanied by likely morning showers. Perth is set to maintain mid-30s temperatures from Friday into the weekend.
Amidst the heatwave, northern and central parts of South Australia experienced severe warnings on Tuesday, with Adelaide reaching 40°C. A cooldown is expected by Friday, with temperatures dropping to 24°C. Melbourne will see cooler conditions with rain and potential thunderstorms on Thursday, while Australia Day in the city is expected to stay at a moderate 23°C, possibly with some drizzle. In Hobart, similar cooler conditions are anticipated, with a 50% chance of rain on Friday morning.
Elsewhere, heavy rainfall in the Northern Territory, extending to the Pilbara and Kimberley in Western Australia, has caused flooding along major highways, prompting an emergency warning for the remote town of Kalkarindji. In Queensland, residents are bracing for the potential impact of Tropical Cyclone Kirrily, forecasted to intensify into a tropical cyclone by late Wednesday or early Thursday, with a projected landfall between Cardwell and Bowen on Thursday night. The system is expected to be a category-two cyclone, with winds reaching up to 117 km/h, posing risks to homes, crops, and power infrastructure.
Meanwhile, in the Northern Territory, heavy rainfall has caused flooding across major highways, extending into the Pilbara and Kimberley regions in Western Australia. An emergency warning has been issued for the remote town of Kalkarindji, emphasizing the need for residents to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions.
Simultaneously, residents in Queensland are closely monitoring the development of Tropical Cyclone Kirrily. The cyclone is anticipated to intensify into a tropical cyclone by late Wednesday or early Thursday, with a projected landfall expected between Cardwell and Bowen on Thursday night. While the system is now forecasted to be a category-two cyclone, with maximum winds ranging from 89 km/h to 117 km/h and gusts reaching up to 164 km/h, it still poses a significant threat to homes, crops, and the risk of power failures.
Category-two cyclones have the potential to cause damage to infrastructure and pose risks to public safety. As a precautionary measure, residents in the potential path of the cyclone are urged to follow official updates, adhere to evacuation orders if issued, and take necessary steps to secure their properties.
The combination of a severe heatwave and the impending tropical cyclone underscores the diverse and challenging weather conditions affecting different parts of Australia simultaneously. Authorities are emphasizing the importance of preparedness, community cooperation, and adherence to safety guidelines to mitigate the potential impacts of both the extreme heat and the approaching cyclone.
As the weather situation unfolds, residents across affected regions are encouraged to stay informed through official channels, heed evacuation orders, and prioritize their safety and well-being. Emergency response teams and relevant authorities are actively monitoring and managing the situation, working towards ensuring the resilience of communities in the face of these weather challenges.