Parts of Australia are bracing for the warmest start to Autumn in decades as another intense heatwave brings the hottest summer on record to a close in many states.
Much of Australia’s south and south-east will bear the brunt of the heat over coming days, with temperatures tipped to soar up to 40C in both Melbourne and Adelaide.
The weather conditions in Melbourne are today forecast to reach up to 36C and 37C tomorrow – marking the hottest start to Autumn in the city in 30 years.
The intense heat has wreaked havoc on some of the city’s transport options, with the Route 30 tram line from East Melbourne to Docklands completely shut down during the heatwave.
Parts of inland Victoria, such as Mildura and Swan Hill, are expected to experience even hotter weather with forecast temperatures leading into the weekend expected to jump up to 39C.
In Adelaide, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has forecast steamy temperatures of up to 37C today and 40C until at least Sunday.
South Australian Total Fire Bans are in place today for the Mount Lofty Ranges and the lower south-eastern regions. The West Coast and Kangaroo Island will also be affected tomorrow.
The high temperatures come as a code red warning was issued in Adelaide earlier this week, meaning extra help for homeless people sleeping rough.
Minister for Human Services Michelle Lensink said the code red activation would make extra services available to help people experiencing homelessness cope with the heat.
At least 15 people have succumbed to the extreme heat in the past 24 hours – seeking help at hospitals across the state.
SA Health officials say that in the past 24 hours – four people have been admitted to hospital – and another 11 sought treatment for heat related illnesses at emergency departments across the state.
Vulnerable South Australians including the frail and the elderly, are being urged to register for the Telecross service – now activated as a result of the weather conditions.
Professor Paddy Phillips from SA Health said people need to take care of themselves during this extreme heatwave.
“Make sure if you are out and about over the hot weather of the weekend you stay cool and you especially stay hydrated – keep the fluids up, that’s really important,” he said.
The conditions are expected to remain hot in both Melbourne and Adelaide until at least Sunday, when the temperatures are tipped to drop to the mid-to-high 20s.
AROUND THE COUNTRY
In other parts of Australia, Brisbane should stay warm for the start of Autumn, with 30C weather through the weekend and into next week despite a chance of rain.
Around the country, temperatures remain significantly high heading into Autumn. (AAP)
Sydney should escape most of the heat sweeping across the south-east, with temperatures only rising to about 28C over the weekend before a brief burst of 30C and 32C weather on Monday and Tuesday.
A similar weather trend will also be seen in Canberra, which is forecast to reach 31C today and up to 35C by the beginning of next week.
Even Hobart is expected to be affected by the burst of intense heat sweeping south for the start of Autumn, with temperatures forecast to rise to 37C by Sunday.
Total Fire Bans remain in place around South Australia and health warnings are in place for most parts around the country amid the hot conditions. (AAP)
Meanwhile, Perth should begin Autumn with a cool 23C day tomorrow and temperatures in Darwin will remain up around 33C with high humidity.
Ben Domensino, meteorologist at Weatherzone, also said that this year’s Summer included Australia’s hottest December and January on record, during which maximum temperatures were 2.41 and 3.37 degrees above average.
“At the local level, Canberra experienced its hottest summer on record, based on minimum, mean and maximum temperatures,” he said.
“The city also experienced its first four day spell over 40 degrees in 80 years of records.
“It was also Hobart’s hottest summer on record based on mean, maximum and minimum temperatures, and their driest in five years.
Weatherzone has confirmed that December and January this Summer were the hottest ever recorded in Australia. (AAP)
“Sydney had its third hottest summer based on mean and maximum temperatures, falling behind 2017 and 1991. The city also registered 29 minimum temperatures above 20 degrees during January, which is a new record for any month.
“Brisbane had one its four warmest summers on record, despite the city failing to reach 37 degrees throughout the entire season.
“It was also the city’s third driest summer on record, with less than one third of the season’s usual rainfall reaching the gauge.
“Adelaide’s West Terrace weather station registered one of its five hottest summers, while the city’s Kent Town station experienced its hottest summer on record, based on maximum temperatures.
“It was also Adelaide’s driest summer in 20 years.”
In a forecast statement earlier this month, the BoM said Autumn across Australia was looking drier and warmer than average for most parts of the country.
The weather authority said that regions spanning from Broome in Western Australia to much of Queensland’s north-east had little chance of receiving higher than average rainfall amounts throughout the season.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast Autumn to be drier on average for most areas around the country. (BoM)
The rest of the country currently sits at a 50 percent chance of exceeding average Autumn rain totals.
At the same time, the majority of the mainland is more than likely to experience higher than average seasonal temperatures this Autumn.
The BoM has forecast an 80 percent chance of conditions staying unusually warm everywhere in Australia apart from south-western WA and Hobart.
BoM long-range forecasting manager Dr Andrew Watkins acknowledged that the update is not the news many Australians had been hoping for after a record-breaking summer of heat.
Additionally, the BoM has said temperatures will exceed the Autumn average for the majority of Australia. (BoM)
“After a record hot December and January it won’t come as a surprise that this summer will be our warmest on record, and apart from areas of northern Queensland, many locations fell short of their summer rainfall averages too,” he said.
“Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t giving a strong indication that we’ll see a return to average or above average rainfall in many areas over the autumn period. The only exception is for parts of inland Western Australia.
“Autumn is obviously a critical time of year for agriculture, particularly in the southern parts of the country.
“It’s important to remember that despite what the outlook is suggesting, individual heavy rainfall events are always possible, and people should stay up to date with the latest seven-day forecast and warnings for their area.”
Dr Watkins also said that 24 of the past 29 years have included drier than average starts to Autumn in south-eastern Australia.