Only a fickle sea breeze is likely prevent Sydney recording one of its 10 hottest November days during the current heatwave sweeping across much of Australia.
The city’s top will ease back from Wednesday’s sizzling 36.5 degrees to a milder 30 degrees on Thursday. Inland regions such as Penrith will likely just eclipse Wednesday’s top of 36.3 degrees, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
There will be fewer places to dodge the heat on Friday, though, with the city expecting 39 degrees and Penrith among the sites expecting 41 degrees. Even Bondi is tipped to hit 36 degrees in the city’s warmest spell for about a year.
On the current forecast, Sydney’s top of Friday would join only seven other November days with at least 39 degrees in bureau records going back 156 years:
A broad low-pressure trough is steering very hot air from the north-west of Western Australia southwards, elevating fire dangers as they go, Tristan Meyers, a meteorologist with Weatherzone said.
All the mainland states and the Northern Territory had temperatures reaching into the 40s on Wednesday, with Ceduna’s 45.8 degrees in South Australia the highest by mid-afternoon.
“These conditions are so severe because the humidity is so low,” Mr Meyers said, adding that such troughs generally produce thundery storms including lightning.
Lightning strikes are being blamed for sparking bushfires in southern Western Australia that have killed at least four people near Esperance.
Fire conditions were also severe in other states, such as South Australia, with Adelaide reaching 40.1 degrees on Wednesday.
In NSW, a total fire ban has been declared for the northern, southern and eastern Riverina district for Thursday, with fire conditions in the northern Riverina rated as “extreme” – the second highest ranking.
Brett Dutschke, a senior Weatherzone meteorologist, said South Australia and NSW were likely to suffer the worst fire conditions since last summer with temperatures in the 40s, humidity levels below 10 per cent and gusty winds.