‘Intense hot spell’ coming your way
FORECASTERS have said that it's looking increasingly likely this month could be the hottest January ever recorded in Australia with an "intense hot spell" just around the corner.
If that record does fall then it's possible the accolade for the hottest Australian summer since records began could also be snatched.
Following last week's blistering heatwave across Australia's southeast, where multiple records for maximum and high minimum temperatures were broken, much of the eastern seaboard has been enjoying a breather with much-needed cooler conditions.
But don't get too used to it. Scorching temperatures in Perth this weekend are a precursor of things to come. As the week progresses that air will travel over Central Australia, keeping itself nice and hot, and then deposit itself in the east - just before Australia Day.
As well as heat, gusty winds and storms could be a feature while a tropical cyclone is brewing in the north.
Parts of Sydney are set to soar into the late-30s from Tuesday and then comfortably into the 40s by the end of the week. Adelaide is looking at 37C on Tuesday and 42C on Thursday.
Melbourne could also touch 40C this week. That's quite a contrast to the 25C high forecast for Monday.
At the moment, however, all that heat is out west, Sky News Weather channel meteorologist Rob Sharpe told news.com.au.
"Perth got to 42C yesterday which was its hottest day in two years," he said.
It wasn't just Western Australia. Both Cloncurry and Camooweal near Mount Isa in Queensland have just ticked over 37 straight days with the maximum temperature breaching 40C. Cloncurry's previous run of hot days stretched to just 17.
'INTENSE, HOT SPELL'
Mr Sharpe said much of the heat would spend the next few days over inland Australia with the higher temperatures pushing into Adelaide on Thursday and then into NSW and Victoria.
"It will be a brief, intense hot spell. In terms of how this heat will compare to the most recent heat, it will shorter lived so there will be no extreme heatwaves but the heat itself will reach similar temperatures."
He also warned that blustery winds associated with a cold front could create more dangerous fire conditions than last week when it was stiller.
"Winds will pick up on Friday and that looks like the most dangerous fire day for the southeast with severe to extreme danger."
HOTTEST DAYS AROUND THE CAPITALS
Adelaide will see 36C today rising to 42C by Thursday before a drop of 11 degrees on Friday. Australia Day should see a high of 31C in the South Australian capital. Port Augusta will get very little relief with 40C+ days for most of the week and 46C on Thursday.
Melbourne will linger around the late-20s and early-30s for Tuesday and Wednesday then shoot up to 39C on Thursday, with Tullamarine at 40C. A substantial drop for Australia Day with highs of 28C and cloudy. Elsewhere in Victoria, Mildura could get to 45C on Thursday, while Wodonga's hottest day will be Friday with 42C.
A windy week in Tasmania is a risk for bushfires. It will be around 30C in Hobart for much of the week, aside from just 19C on a cloudy Wednesday. A high of 33C on Friday and then 23C on Saturday.
Canberra will stick around at least the mid-30s all week getting to 36C on Tuesday and then to 39C on Friday. A few possible storms on any day and then 35C on the national day.
Sydney's CBD temperatures will be moderated by the sea breezes. It will be around 31C on Wednesday with a possible storm, 33C on Friday and then 28C on Saturday. But in the western suburbs it will be boiling, up to 41C on Friday and 43C on Sunday in Penrith.
Towns and cities in inland NSW, from Broken Hill to Wagga and Dubbo, could see several 40C+ days this week.
Brisbane's run of sunny summer days continues with highs of around 32C including on Australia Day. In Far North Queensland, Cairns will hit 31C with possible rain.
Darwin will be 31C for most of the week with possible storms, 33C on the weekend.
Perth will drop from 32C today to just 21C by Wednesday with the possibility of rain. A sunny Australia Day is forecast, reaching 28C.
JANUARY COULD BE RECORD-BREAKER
The hot weather is setting up January to be a record-breaker, according to Mr Sharpe.
"We've just come off the back of the hottest December on record. In this latest heat spell we had four days that were in the top 10 hottest Australian days on record and the hottest night on record.
"We've had some serious heat and it has not really broken up. This next hot spell will take us through to the end of month so I wouldn't be surprised if it was the hottest January ever," he said. "And if that happens it could be the hottest summer on record."
However, the bubbling up of a monsoon could change things, particularly as January comes to a close. A tropical cyclone developing off the north coast is likely to bring rain into initially northern and central Western Australia. As this area is the engine of heat that often ends up in the southeast, it may bring down the highs.
"That could bring rain across a good proportion of the country and will break up that heat and bring a little bit of cooling," Mr Sharpe said.