A mass of hot air has been brewing over the west coast and is expected to bring extreme heat to the nation’s south east.
Sunday and Monday are likely to be the hottest days with several towns, particularly in the Riverina, reaching temperatures of 45C before Australia Day while increasing bushfire risk.
Australia is going to see “extreme conditions”, especially in South Australia, NSW, Tasmania, Victoria and the ACT, BOM meteorologist Jonathan How said.
“A significant and prolonged heatwave is set to impact south east Australia with soaring temperatures and elevated fire dangers this weekend and into the Australia Day public holiday,” he said.
“We are really going to see the heat start moving to South Australia and Victoria over the weekend.
“Sunday and Monday are really going to be the peak of the heat as it moves into NSW.”
Uncomfortably warm nights are also on the way, Mr How said, urging Australians to take care of animals or pets who might reside outdoors.
Sydney will experience a run of five days above 30C, while Adelaide will top 41C on Sunday.
Temperatures will climb as high as 45C along the Murray River, and on Monday Victorians and Tasmanians can expect to swelter with highs of 41C and 33C forecast for their respective capital cities.
Monday will also be a “critical” fire day for Victoria and southern NSW, Mr How said.
A cool change is forecast for Tuesday but the heat will still linger along the east coast, including in Sydney where the mercury will not drop below 21C overnight for the entire week.
Several towns in the NSW Riverina will hit 42C on Saturday, including Griffith and Narrandera. The hottest place in the state will be Wilcannia at 43C.
The south-west cost and northern parts of South Australia will be among the hottest places to be across the entire nation this weekend.
A ‘code red’ is in place across South Australia.
Ceduna will hit 45C, as will Tarcoola. There are seven towns with a top of 44C forecast for Friday including the Nallarbor and Woomera. Coober Pedy will hit 43C.
In Victoria, Mildura will be the hottest town with a top of 41C.
A cyclone warning has eased across Western Australia.