It has been a hot summer in many parts of Australia, and it’s far from over.
Hot air has been sitting over the Pilbara mining country in Western Australia for weeks, and now it is starting to move east.
The Bureau of Meteorology updated its forecasts yesterday for the heatwave that has enveloped much of South Australia in recent days. Most of continental Australia and large parts of Tasmania will experience low-intensity heatwave conditions between Monday and Wednesday.
The worst is likely to come towards the end of the week, as a second wave hot air moves towards the eastern states, the most densely populated areas of the country. Parts of Sydney are expected to have several days of temperatures exceeding 40C starting tomorrow, although it will be more bearable in the city itself with temperatures in the mid-to-high 30s.
Australia’s official heatwave forecasts are split into three tiers: low intensity, severe, and extreme. As you can see from the maps, huge swathes of Australia — the sixth-largest country in the world — will experience at least one of those.
The Bureau defines a heatwave as “three or more days in a row when both daytime and night-time temperatures are unusually high—in relation to the local long-term climate and the recent past.”
While low-intensity heatwave conditions are very hot but tolerable for most people, severe heatwaves can put the elderly and sick at risk.
Extreme heatwaves, the Bureau says, “affect the reliability of infrastructure, like power and transport, and are dangerous for anyone who does not take precautions to keep cool—even those who are healthy. People who work or exercise outdoors are particularly at risk.”
Here’s a look at the maps.
Monday to Wednesday: There’ll be severe heatwave conditions from central parts of WA to most parts of South Australia, NSW and Victoria, and reaching all the way down to northern Tasmania.
Wednesday to Friday: Extreme heatwave conditions over most of eastern NSW, covering most of the outer Sydney metropolitan area, country NSW, and Canberra. Large areas of Queensland, Victoria, South Australia, the NT and WA will also see heatwave conditions persist
There are more details from the BoM here.
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