Australia’s early-year heatwave is set to return to the east this week, after subjecting Perth to its hottest night and morning on record and pushing emergency authorities to the limit.
Successive days over 40C in Perth were only broken by the hottest night on record in the West Australian capital, dipping to a low of 29.7C at just after 3am on Sunday.
That beat the previous record of 29.3C in 1962 – while Perth’s 39C temperature at 9am was another record.
Bushfires were fought in suburbs of Perth on Saturday, and in the Perth hills on Sunday, and fire danger ratings were set to stay very high across south-eastern Australia for the rest of the week.
Authorities are now warning of similarly extreme temperatures to come in Victoria, South Australia and NSW, as the slow-moving weather pattern allows the heat to continue to build.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Peter Zmijewski said western parts of NSW would be the first to feel the heat from Monday.
By Wednesday most districts west of the great divide will see hot to very hot conditions.
The temperatures will reach the low to mid 40s in south-west NSW, while the coastal areas will be spared.
“There will be quite a spell of hot weather for western Sydney,” he said.
BOM forecasts temperatures to reach 37C in the western suburbs from Wednesday before a top of 39C for Saturday.
The extreme heatwave coming to South Australia will be a risk to public safety.
Nurses will increase their checks on vulnerable people in the community as temperatures reach 43C in Adelaide on Wednesday and Thursday.
The mercury could climb higher in inland areas.
“Apart from the extreme coastal locations, you really could get a 45C-type maximum anywhere,” Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Tom Boeck told AAP.
The State Emergency Service issued an extreme heat warning on Sunday and says hot weather conditions from Monday to Friday might be a risk to public safety.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said people needed to revisit bushfire action plans and be prepared for an emergency.
As the state sweltered, bushfires broke out all over WA, with the worst threatening homes in Parkerville in the Perth hills.
An emergency warning was issued for people in the eastern part of Mundaring, with flames up to 20 metres high burning towards homes and the smoke visible more than five kilometres away.
The start of the Australian Open tennis in Melbourne is likely to be greeted with soaring temperatures set to reach 34C on Monday, 41C on Tuesday, and remain close to 40C for the rest of the week.
The scorching temperatures will arise as a pocket of very hot air, which subjected WA’s Pilbara region to intense heat last week, begins to move east.
Last week Onslow suffered through two successive days over 48C, with Paraburdoo topping 40C by 9.30am on Friday.