A bruising heatwave described by one climate researcher as “horrifying” is moving across Australia, with extreme conditions expected across much of South Australia and the eastern states.
The Bureau of Meteorology is warning of high temperatures and humid nights through Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, especially around Sydney and north to the Queensland-NSW border. A cool change is expected in Melbourne today although inland Victoria will remain very warm until the weekend.
The Australian Energy Market Operator said it was actively working to try and avoid blackouts – like that ordered in Adelaide on Wednesday night – as the high temperatures move across the country.
“AEMO has today published market notices forecasting a tightening supply/demand balance across South Australia and New South Wales over the coming days, and is working with the market to mitigate the need for further load shedding events,” the authority said in a statement.
AEMO ordered a series of rolling blackouts affecting 40,000 customers in Adelaide as the city sweltered in 40C-plus temperatures because the distribution network was in danger of being damaged by high loads at the user end and insufficient supply.
Dr Sarah Perkin-Kirkpatrick, a researcher at the Climate Change Research Centre, UNSW, said: “This developing heatwave is nothing short of horrifying.”
Much of eastern Australia has seen heatwave after heatwave this summer, with some seasonal records already broken by the start of February. Nighttime temperatures have been too hot for adequate sleep and daytime temperatures have been searing. What is particularly concerning about the developing event is the intensity, where many regions will see a string of extremely hot days with little relief. Much of NSW, QLD and northern VIC will suffer the most, where temperatures will be the hottest, and follow little reprieve from the previous heatwaves. It is important that everyone tries to stay cool. Don’t work, play, or exercise outside and look after those who may struggle to keep cool, particularly the sick, elderly and very young.
The BOM said: “Hot conditions will extend from inland Queensland into the southeast of the state later in the week, with high humidity making the conditions even more uncomfortable.
“In New South Wales, a wind change on Thursday may result in temporary relief for southern and central coastal parts of the state, however this change will be shallow and any relief is likely to be short-lived with the heat building up again on Friday.
“We’re urging the public to stay tuned for the latest forecasts and warnings from the Bureau, and follow the advice of local emergency services.”
Humidity is expected well into the 90s in the Sydney region late today, making for an extremely uncomfortable night.
Below are some maps showing how it’s expected to progress.
FRIDAY: The heatwave will move east, with temperatures pushing 40C across much of Victoria and around Sydney.
SATURDAY: Very high temperatures will persist up the east coast
Below are some detailed temperature maps for the high temperatures expected in the eastern states on Friday and Saturday.