Australia’s post-Christmas heatwave continues to sweep across the country, with a near record-breaking 49°C [120°F] forecast for Western Australia, and fire danger, health and air quality warnings issued across the nation.Temperature records have been broken as a heatwave continues across the country and parts of South Australia are expected to enter catastrophic fire conditions later on Friday.
Marble Bar in north-western Western Australia broke its all-time heat record on Thursday, reaching 49.3°C [120.7°F) as parts of SA and Victoria issued bushfire warning, and extreme weather forecast to continue into next week…
In northern Victoria, Mildura had another day of temperatures in the mid-40s, reaching 44°C on Thursday. In New South Wales, Menindee, near Broken Hill, and Wentworth, near the Victorian border, peaked at 45°C.
The highest warnings were in place for South Australia, which was expecting temperatures of 48°C at Oak Valley, north of the Nullabor, and 47°C at Port Augusta.
“The previous December record is also 47°C from three years ago so we might see some records tumble there today,” said Diana Eadie, a meteorologist at the bureau.
Catastrophic fire conditions
The bureau forecast that catastrophic fire conditions could set in later on Friday in parts of South Australia when strong southerly winds were expected to hit the state.
The mid-north fire ban district of South Australia, which takes in towns including Clare, Snowtown, Burra and Jamestown, was on alert for catastrophic fire conditions.
By Friday morning, temperatures in Snowtown had already reached 38°C.
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Five other fire ban districts in the state – the west coast, the eastern Eyre Peninsula, Flinders, the Yorke Peninsula and the Mount Lofty Ranges – had extreme fire danger ratings and there were severe fire danger ratings in place in three others.
The South Australian Country Fire Service was warning residents in these areas to be ready to enact their bushfire survival plans.
“It’s won’t be a viable option in some parts of the state to stay and defend today because conditions will be so bad,” said Alison Martin, a spokeswoman for the fire service. “We’re telling people to enact their bushfire survival plan early and, if they need to leave, they need to do so before they see smoke and know where they’re travelling to.”
In Victoria, the Mallee and Wimmera regions had severe fire danger ratings on Friday.
Temperatures in much of the country were sitting at 5°C to 15°C above average for this time of year, with only a few places escaping the heat.
Beachgoers hoping to cool off in the sea were also advised to take care, after four people drowned in coastal waters in two days on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Another totally insane heat anomaly in Australia!