SA, Victoria set for heatwaves while Queensland hit with rain

Date: 2021-12-30 02:36:35

Millions of Australians are set to swelter through a heatwave while ringing in the new year, while the country’s north braces for rain and floods.

Millions of Australians are set to swelter through a heatwave while ringing in the new year, while North Queensland will be battered with floods and rain.

Heatwaves hitting Western Australia are now shifting across to the country’s southeast, prompting warnings for elevated fire danger levels affecting New Year’s Eve celebrations.

Sweltering weather is predicted for South Australia, Victoria and parts of Tasmania leading into the weekend.

“The record-breaking heatwave which hit Perth is making its way east,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jonathon How told Today.

“We’re not expecting temperatures into the mid-40s, but it will get quite hot.”

Melbourne is forecast to hit highs of 38C, with the bureau predicting severe heatwave conditions across the entire state from Thursday to Saturday and even right through to Monday.

Fire agencies are warning people living and travelling to remote Victorian areas to stay on high alert for fire conditions, as very high fire ratings are in place across most of the state.

Country Fire Authority chief officer Jason Heffernan said the heat and hot, dry winds could lead to fires.

“A wet winter and spring is now behind us, and December has been very dry in large parts of Victoria,” Mr Heffernan said.

“On hot, dry and windy days like the ones we are expecting this weekend, anyone in regional areas of Victoria, and even on the metropolitan fringe, needs to stay alert to conditions, make sure they have downloaded the VicEmergency app and stay informed.”

Acting Fire Rescue Commissioner Gavin Freeman said grassfires posed a particular risk this summer after a wet spring resulted in significant grass and scrub growth.

“Grassfires can move at speeds of up to 25km/h and jump highways,” Mr Freeman said.

“Avoid any fires along your planned route by setting up ‘watch zones’ in the VicEmergency app before you leave to receive updates about any nearby incidents.”

Adelaide is also expected to hit temperatures of 38C on Friday and into the weekend.

SA Country Fire Service assistance chief officer Brett Loughlin said the CFS was preparing for extreme heat and dry conditions over the weekend.

Mr Loughlin said the CFS was working with planned new year’s events to protect from any potential fire danger.

“It could very well be that if conditions aren’t conducive to allowing safe use of fireworks then we might see those events … cancelled or conducted differently,” he said.

“We don’t want our brave volunteers to be seeing in the new year risking their lives somewhere just so someone could have their 30 seconds of whiz-bang.”

The mercury is tipped to swell into the 30s in Canberra on Friday but is expected to drop quickly overnight to just 13C.

While it won’t be as hot in NSW, Sydney will have clear skies and warm nights while ringing in the new year with highs of 29C forecast on Friday.

Mr How is pushing for people to be prepared for the warmer nights.

“It is summer and these conditions aren’t unusual, but given it was a cool start to summer, these conditions could be quite uncomfortable, especially at night,” he said.

“People need to stay hydrated, put on the sunscreen and stay out of the sun if you can.”

While most of the country will have sunny skies, it’s a different story in Australia’s north, with tropical rains arriving in North Queensland and the Northern Territory.

A low pressure has brought heavy rains to the area, with more wet weather predicted over the weekend.

“The heaviest rain has been across the Gulf Coast. Overnight we saw just under 100mm for Port Douglas,” Mr How said.

“It is a fast-moving system so the rains will ease up, but it will linger across the coast with dangerous strong winds and dangerous surf conditions continuing up to New Year’s.”

While the bureau predicts monsoonal rain and squalls, Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski warned cyclones could also hit the area.

“It will come out of the gulf with a low chance of it becoming a cyclone in that area but will push across into North Queensland from about Cooktown to as far as Townsville,” Mr Gollschewski said.

“We will see significant amounts of rain and high wind.”

Brisbane and Gold Coast residents have been warned of floods, as wet weather lashes the coast over Thursday and Friday, with temperatures set to reach a balmy 28C.

“There’s a bit of a flood risk over the next 24 hours just as some of those rivers start to respond to that heavy rainfall, but it will turn to hazardous surf conditions from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast,” Mr How said.

Those looking to holiday in the Gold Coast have instead been met with storms, while Brisbane has already had more rainfall than the December average.

While Perth has been suffering with heatwaves and fire warnings for much of the week, the city will have a short reprieve before more warnings are on the way.

Temperatures are predicted to reach 32C on Friday but won’t be as hot as the severe heatwave conditions in the state earlier in the week.

Read related topics:BrisbaneMelbourne

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