Parts of south-east Australia are set to swelter, with temperatures expected to soar above 40 degrees in Melbourne and Sydney on Saturday.
Hot and dry air will be dragged across southern Australia, with parts of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and New South Wales expected to cop extreme heat and become subject to a high fire risk.
Temperatures will skyrocket in Sydney’s western suburbs, with the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting highs of 45 degrees in Penrith, 44 degrees in Richmond and 43 degrees in Liverpool, Blacktown and Campbelltown on Sunday.
A total fire ban has been issued for the whole of Victoria on Saturday, with BoM forecasting highs of 41 degrees in Melbourne’s CBD on Saturday, with northerly winds reaching up to 40 kilometres an hour.
Temperatures are also expected to soar elsewhere in the state on Saturday – with Geelong and Bendigo expecting a high of 42 degrees and Avalon, Echuca and Warracknabeal expecting 43 degrees.
Ambulance Victoria’s state health commander Paul Holman told media on Friday: “This heat is a killer. It’s going to be like a blast furnace tomorrow and you need to adjust what you do,
“You need to take this seriously. You need to take care. So put off the sporting events, put off the outside events, stay inside.”
Canberra is expected to reach a high of 36 degrees on Saturday, while the overnight low is predicted to remain well above 20 degrees.
High Temps and Strong Winds means increased Fire Danger Rating over parts of southern #Australia today & tomorrow. Which #warnings are active near you? Check https://t.co/qm1nYhUSO4 pic.twitter.com/AavxuRUX0j
— Bureau of Meteorology, Australia (@BOM_au) January 4, 2018
The warm overnight temperatures will lead into an even hotter Sunday, at 38 degrees with the chance of late rain.
No-fire bans have been implemented in NSW or the ACT at this stage, as many areas of those states face “severe” fire danger, according to Weatherzone.
It states parts of NSW, Victoria and South Australia could potentially face “catastrophic” fire danger over the weekend, as strengthening northerly winds drag hot air across southern Australia.
A day of TOTAL FIRE BAN has been declared for the whole state of Victoria on SATURDAY 6 JANUARY 2018. No fires can be lit in open air between 00:01 hours on 06/01/2018 and 23:59 hours on 06/01/2018. https://t.co/pK768hVZdk #vicfires pic.twitter.com/JJ5CwD3Et0
— VicEmergency (@vicemergency) January 4, 2018
It is expected the hot weather in the Sydney area will last until early next week before a cool change.
Meanwhile, Tasmania is also facing a state-wide fire ban with temperatures expected to be in the mid-30s and northerly winds gusting up to 90 kilometres an hour.
Hobart is predicted to see a 33-degrees high while a 30-degrees maximum is expected for Launceston.
Acting deputy chief officer Jeremy Smith said the Tasmanian Fire Service was preparing for an uncontrollable fire risk with extra crews and additional aircraft.
“Any fire that is currently burning needs to be extinguished and we want to reinforce to the community if you’ve had a fire had a campfire in the proceeding weeks or even months, we want them to be checked and fully extinguished prior to Saturday,” Mr Smith said.
Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said Saturday would be the “first hot day” of a “mild summer” for the state.
“It’s about heat, it’s about fire,” Mr Lapsley said.
“We’re going to see a day that is hot, dry and windy and if we have winds running in the afternoon – if there is fire – that will change the trajectory of the fire and traditionally that is where we lose our property, after the wind change,” he said.
“It is a day with everything in it. The key message for Victorians is to be prepared.”
The BoM has warned Sydneysiders to check on elderly neighbours.
“Heatwaves can particularly affect vulnerable people, so the sick, the elderly and children,” BoM duty forecaster Rob Taggart said.
“People should check up on their elderly neighbours, stay in cool conditions, keep hydrated and make sure that you’re looking after those who might be vulnerable.”
– with ABC