Weather News

Heatwave looms for southern Australia

Ben Domensino, Monday January 21, 2019 - 12:43 AEDT

Another burst of intense heat will sweep across southern Australia this week, with Adelaide a chance to experience its hottest day on record.

A mass of hot air that broke numerous records across the country last week is set to return to southern Australia during the coming days. While last week's heatwave was largely confined to inland areas, this week's heat will have a more noticeable effect on densely populated coastal locations.

The tongue of hot air will sweep across southern Australia from west to east during the next seven days, ahead of a low pressure system and associated low pressure trough.

Perth experienced the intensity of this hot air mass on the weekend, exceeding 40 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. The city should only reach 32 degrees today and cool even further from Tuesday, as the heat moves east.

Temperatures will climb in South Australia during the first half of the week, before peaking on Wednesday and Thursday. Adelaide should reach at least the high thirties on each of the next four days and may warm to the mid-forties Thursday. Further north, the mercury should reach 46-48 over the state's pastoral districts.

Image: Forecast surface temperature on Thursday, January 24th, according to the ECMWF-HRES model.

There's a chance Adelaide's record of 46.1 degrees could be challenged on Thursday, which dates back to January 12, 1939.

Victoria will be shielded from the most intense heat during the first half of the week, before strengthening northerly winds cause temperatures to soar on Thursday and Friday. Northern parts of the state will comfortably reach the mid forties on these two days, while temperatures should reach the low forties in parts of southern Victoria.

Melbourne's could register its first 40 degree day of this year's Australian Open tournament, most likely on Friday. Fortunately for players and spectators attending to finals weekend, Saturday and Sunday should only reach the mid to high twenties.

The heat will spread into NSW from Friday, once again sending temperatures into the high forties across the state's far west.

Canberra has a chance of reach 40 degrees on Friday and Saturday, although last week's record-breaking four day spell of 40 degree days won't be repeated in the city. Western Sydney is likely to nudge 40 degrees on Friday and on Sunday, although sea breezes should limit heating in the city and eastern suburbs. However, elevated humidity will make it feel noticeably warm across Sydney over the long weekend.

This week's hot weather will be the latest in a series of heatwaves that have been gripping Australia since late December.

The most recent heatwave saw numerous records broken last week, including Tarcoola's first 49 degree day in nearly a century of records, and Australia's highest minimum temperature on record, an oppressive 35.9 degrees at Noona in far western NSW.

The spate of intense and widespread heatwaves during the last several weeks was made possible by a delayed onset of the monsoon in northwestern Australia. A lack of seasonal cloud and rain in this region recently has allowed unabated solar heating to sustain a large and intense mass of hot air, which has continually circulated around Australia since late December.

Global warming is also likely to have influenced the recent torrent of heat-related records. Australia's climate has warmed by just over one degree since 1910, according to a State of the Climate Report recently issued by Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO.

Fortunately, the monsoon trough is expected to arrive over northern Australia this week, which should help erode some of the hot air that has been wafting around Australia since Christmas.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2019

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