An extensive heatwave is sweeping eastwards across Australia, baking inland regions and ensuring the Australian Open Tennis Championships has one of its hottest starts.
Sea breezes, though, will mean much of coastal New South Wales will be spared the worst of the heat. “The heat is definitely very intense,” Sam Brown, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said. “The slow-moving weather pattern has just allowed that heat to build and build.”
Fire danger ratings are likely to be very high for the week across south-eastern Australia. Tennis players in Melbourne can expect a hot tournament, with temperatures to reach 34 degrees today and 41 tomorrow, and then climb close to 40 each day until Friday.
“Every indication is that the heat is likely to linger and there’ll be high 20s through the second week of the tennis,” Mr Brown said.
Overnight temperatures won’t offer much relief. Minimums in Melbourne won’t dip below 22 from tomorrow until Saturday, while Friday’s low is unlikely to drop below 28 on current forecasts.
Inland Victoria will see some very hot conditions in coming days. Shepparton, for instance, will endure five days of 40-plus maximums from today, with 45 forecast for Thursday – more than 15 degrees above its long-term January average.