Australia could become the hottest place on Earth in the next week, with temperatures predicted to soar to 50 degrees in some parts of the country.
A mix of an “exceptionally hot air mass” and a lack of cloud cover over north-western Australia will bring “severe to extreme” heat in coming days, forecaster Weatherzone reports.
Models suggest temperatures will break the nation’s highest official record by Sunday. It came in December 2019 along the Nullarbor in South Australia, reaching 49.9 degrees.
“Towards the end of the week, this heat will drift towards the north-west and become more focused over the Pilbara, Kimberley and North Interior districts of WA,” Weatherzone said.
“The hot air mass will cause severe to extreme heatwave conditions across a large area of central and northern Australia this week.”
A broad, stagnant area of low pressure will allow hot air to build over central Australia during coming days, peaking as it drifts north-west.
Pilbara, Kimberley and north interior districts of Western Australia will be hit hardest.
Images predicting surface air temperatures for Saturday and Sunday forecast heat over 45 degrees in the regions.
“Both days of the weekend have the potential to see temperatures of around 50 degrees somewhere in the north of WA,” Weatherzone said.
Alice Springs is forecast to reach 39 to 41 degrees every day from Wednesday to Saturday – four to six degrees above its average for this time of year.
The forecaster said that while there was a chance of a 50-degree peak in the north of WA this weekend, it’s unlikely that it will be at one of the state’s official weather stations.
Meanwhile, Australia’s south-east will experience less gruelling, but still hazardous, temperatures come the weekend.
According to the Bureau of Meteorology, South Australia is forecast for a “very hot” Friday with heat to exceed 37 degrees. Temperatures will rise in coming days.
Melburnians will experience a similar rise in temperature before their hottest day on Saturday with a top of 33 degrees.
“Hot conditions are forecast for parts of Victoria on Friday and Saturday, ahead of a front that will cross the state on Saturday,” the weather bureau tweeted on Wednesday.
“The front will also bring strong winds, elevating fire dangers over the north-west.”
Sydney is forecast to have a potential high of 30 degrees on Saturday.
Across NSW, where there are still many rivers in flood, the Bureau of Meteorology said Wednesday would be warm to very warm, “with northerly winds east of a trough extending through the state’s west”.
It was expected to generate showers and thunderstorms across much of south-east NSW later in the day.