AUSTRALIA’S southern states are in the grip of record-breaking heatwaves — with summer-like conditions set to continue for at least another week.
New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have already experienced above average March temperatures.
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Agata Imielska said weather records had been broken in recent weeks but more looked set to be smashed in coming days.
Sydney has seen 29 consecutive days of temperatures 26C or above, breaking its previous record of 19 consecutive days from March 2014.
“It will probably keep going because Sydney is looking like it’s going to have a nice period of high temperatures with 28-29C this weekend and above 30-32C days forecast from Sunday 30 or 32 each day, ” Ms Imielska said.
The mercury is expected to nudge 30C in Sydney, and higher in the western suburbs, every day next week.
Ms Imielska said Sydney ocean temperatures were sitting on a mild 24 degrees and contributing to the mercury not dropping below 19C overnight more than twice since the start of February.
“It’s a good stretch of nice settled weather spilling over from summer,” she said,
“Summer hasn’t released its grip on our weather just yet.”
Much of Australia is sweltering through the hottest start to Autumn in decade. Picture: BOM
But conditions will be less than idyllic in other parts of the country, from this weekend.
BOM senior forecaster Adam Morgan said west NSW was in for a scorcher with Wagga Wagga and Albury to endure extreme temperatures with the potential to break more records.
“In Albury we’re forecasting seven days in a row above 38C and that will penetrate to eastern SA and west NSW,” he said.
The last time the mercury hit 38C for the region in March was in 2008 and lasted only one day.
VIC is expected to see the worst of the heatwave caused by a blocking high pressure system in the Tasman Sea.
“Most of the heat is going to be focused in the north western ranges,” Mr Morgan said.
“We could easily see some more records broken in Victoria for consecutive hot days.
“Victoria is mostly predicted to be in the high to very high fire danger range today and over the weekend, with a chance of moving to severe fire danger.
“Winds will be light to moderate which might not bump up the fire danger to severe but forecasters are watching it very closely.”
Mr Morgan said Australia was still under the influence of the El Niño event, which was partly responsible for making the first month of Autumn mimicking summer.
“The El Nino is expected to decay by mid this year but for now its effects are still being felt,” he said.
“It’s going to be a while until we see any cold fronts or cool changes yet.”