Rain eases WA fires as storms threaten, NT, Qld and heatwave hits Adelaide, Melbourne

Western Australia is dealing with a dual fire and flood emergency while storms threaten the north of the country and hot weather makes its way towards the south.

WA Premier Mark McGowan threatened “serious jail time” awaits arsonists after it emerged the Department of Fire and Emergency Services believed six fires in the Yallingup and Busselton areas that reached emergency warning levels on Saturday were deliberately lit.

There was some relief on Saturday as rain came to assist firefighters battling the Perth Hills fire that has burned through nearly 11,000 hectares and destroyed 86 homes.

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The fire is now under control but still burning and the source of its ignition remains unknown.

Further away from the WA capital, rivers have begun receding after widespread flooding on Friday.

Minor flood warnings remain in place for the Fitzroy and Gascoyne rivers and may still be flooding roads and cutting off access to communities.

A severe weather warning has also been issued for the southwest of the state, with damaging winds, heavy rainfall and abnormally high tides set to impact near Mandurah, Bunbury and Margaret River.

In the north, the Bureau of Meteorology has issued warnings over an “active band” of thunderstorms from a low pressure system in the Gulf of Carpentaria combined with a monsoon trough covering “much of the northern part of the country”.

Torrential rain is expected in the Northern Territory for people in parts of the Carpentaria, Arnhem, Gregory and Barkly districts.

“Widespread 24 hour rainfall totals of 50-100mm are possible across the warning area, with isolated falls of 100-200mm possible near the low,” the Bureau warned on Sunday morning.

Damaging wind gusts up to 100km/h are possible with storms overnight and into Monday.

For those in the south, particularly Adelaide and Melbourne, things are about to heat up.

“A cold front and a complex low pressure system has moved across the southeast of the country into the Tasman Sea,” the Bureau said on Sunday.

For the week ahead Adelaide is facing tops of 30C, 35C and 37C for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, before dropping to a forecast maximum of 22C on Friday.

Melbourne is expected to top 30C on Wednesday and Thursday before cooling off later in the week.

Brisbane and Sydney are looking at a cloudy but otherwise stable week with temperatures hitting the high 20s and low 30s throughout.

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