LARGE amounts of rain in December have given way to hot, dry and very summer-like conditions in recent days and there’s plenty of sunshine still ahead says the Bureau of Meteorology.
Ballarat is set for its hottest week of the summer so far with three consecutive days above 36 degrees.
Even when a cooler change hits on Thursday, it will only see temperatures drop marginally, to 33 degrees on Thursday and 29 degrees on Friday.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology defines a heat wave as "three days or more of maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual for the location".
But various states have different models, for example in Adelaide a heat wave is defined by five or more days above 35 degrees.
There are three forms of heatwave, a low-intensity heatwave which will cover much of Queensland and Western Australia this week, a severe heatwave which covers most of Victoria, including Ballarat, South Australia and New South Wales and an extreme heatwave which will be felt most in southern coastal New South Wales and most of outback South Australia.
Bureau of Meteorology Senior Forecaster Michael Efron said temperatures will be well into the 40s across northern Victoria peaking on Wednesday, including 41 at Bendigo
“We’ll see the peak in extreme conditions on Tuesday and Wednesday with temperatures around 45 to 46 on the border and there won’t be much relief overnight with temperature not below the mid 20s,” Mr Efron said.
“There will be some extreme conditions and the vulnerable should take care with temperatures not dropping significantly.”
Mr Efron said the weather pattern did not loom as dangerous fire weather, but precautions needed to be taken.
“We’re certainly looking at severe fire danger, but it’s not a classic fire weather day with strong northerly winds,” he said,
“But south westerly winds will pick up on late on Tuesday afternoon so keep a look out for fire weather warnings and warnings for Tuesday for Wednesday.”
He said areas close to the coast will see sea breezes pick up late in the days, but a proper cool change will not hit until late on Friday dropping the mercury back into the low 20s around Ballarat.
The other feature of the week, and in fact the month to date, has been the lack of rainfall.
Just .4mm has fallen so far, and while there is an 80 per cent possibility of rain late on Friday, it will barely be enough to register on the radar.
The driest January ever recorded in Ballarat was .8mm in 2009, but with little rainfall on the horizon, there is a chance that could be broken in the coming two weeks.
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