Temperatures soar past 40 degrees in parts of NSW with 'severe heatwave territory' on the way

William West/AFP/Getty Images

The mercury will reach highs of more than 40 degrees Celsius in parts of New South Wales today, with scorching temperatures likely to continue into next week.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released a fire weather warning and severe fire danger forecast for the greater Sydney region, the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region, with total fire ban in these regions for at least 24 hours.

Rob Taggart, duty forecaster from the Bureau of Meteorology says that the slow moving, high pressure system in the Tasman sea is bringing the heat in from central Australia.

Relief from the heat is coming, only briefly though. Taggart says that although there will be very hot, dry and gusty northwesterly winds during the day, “there is a southerly change coming through very late tonight or early tomorrow morning” which will cool to a weak cold front that will bring cooler temperatures to southern and central coastal areas.

Temperatures will rise again and build over the weekend and into next week. Taggart says, “what we’re expecting particularly early next week is the heat starting to build and increase and that brings the heatwave even higher to a more elevated status to we start to get into severe heatwave territory.”

The heat levels may even be record-breaking. If the Sydney suburb of Penrith reaches 42.4 degrees today, it will be the hottest December day in 8 years. Previously, Penrith reached 42.3 degrees in 2009.

Taggart warns that it will be “dangerously hot” for vulnerable members of the community, such as the elderly and children, and suggests that friends and family members look out for these people during the extreme weather conditions.

NOW READ: Conditions in NSW are drier now than in the lead-up to the devastating 2013 bushfire season

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