Hottest year on record declared as heatwave intensifies on Australia’s east coast
It’s official — 2023 has been declared the hottest year on record, with a few weeks still to go.
The European Union’s Climate Change Service. made the declaration on Friday as some parts of Australia prepare for a searing weekend heatwave.
The last time the record was broken was in 2016.
Western Sydney residents could experience temperatures of 38C on Friday, while the inner-city hits 30C.
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By Saturday, the mercury is set to soar up to 44C in parts of the west — the last time this happened was during the height of the Black Summer bushfires in 2019/2020.
The last time Sydney recorded temperatures about 44C was during the Black Summer in 2019.
Heatwaves are being reported in multiple states with Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT among those reporting temperatures in the high 30s and low 30s.
Climate Council director of research Dr Simon Bradshaw said the record declaration was not a surprise and was consistent with what scientists warned would happen as climate change accelerates.
“This ferocious heat, and the confirmation that this year is the hottest on record is consistent with what science has warned us to expect,” he said.
He strongly urged Australians to take the advice of local health authorities to avoid the worst of the heat this weekend and reduce their risk of developing heat stroke.
“Heatwaves are silent killers. The human body can only cope with so much and it’s critical that today and over the weekend, Australians heed the advice of their local health authorities, stay vigilant and look after each other,” Dr Bradshaw said.
Heatwave conditions have gripped the state for three days already, and have slowly crept their way through almost every town with varying degrees of intensity.
Severe heatwave conditions have covered most of the north of the state with a thin band of lower level heatwave reaching from the north to the southern border along the coastline.
By Friday, spots of extreme heatwave conditions will develop over the Central West Slopes and Plains regions, as severe heat pushes towards the coast.
The state government has closed 19 schools due to extreme bushfire risk on Friday, as the danger level rises to extreme levels in parts of south-west NSW including Griffith, Murrumbidgee and Wentworth.
The NSW schools that will be closed due to bushfire risk:
- Barellan Central School
- Binya Public School
- Clare Public School
- Coleambally Central School
- Darlington Point Public School
- Goolgowi Public School
- Hillston Central School
- Lake Wyangan Public School
- Narrandera East Infants School
- Narrandera High School
- Palinyewah Public School
- Pooncarie Public School
- Rankins Springs Public School
- Tharbogang Public School
- Wamoon Public School
- Whitton-Murrami Public School
- Yanco Public School
- Yenda Public School
- Yoogali Public School
A severe heatwave has sent temperatures soaring in recent days, but is expected to ease on Friday, with southern parts of the state likely to reach a high of 33C as a band of thunderstorms is ushered in.
The small town of Marree, in the north of the state, was the hottest place on Earth on Wednesday with a high of 46C recorded.
However, heatwave conditions should dissolve by Saturday when a new weather system moves settles over the south of the country bringing a potentially dangerous cocktail of weather.
Heavy rain, severe thunderstorms and damaging winds are all possible in the next 48 hours as a strong cold front sweeps across the south of the country.
The wild weather is forecast to coincide with catastrophic fire danger warnings in place on Friday over the Eyre Peninsula, Flinders Ranges, Yorke Peninsula, Riverland and regions just north of Adelaide.
A welcome sigh of relief will arrive on Saturday with up to 25mm of rain forecast to fall, and a possible total of up to 40mm by the end of the weekend.
Modelling shown on WeatherZone has predicted a total of between 100mm and 200mm of rainfall could fall over the seven day period to Tuesday.
From the northern tip of the state and reaching from the east to west border in the south, a severe heatwave warning is in place until Saturday.
Locations likely to be impacted include Aurukun, Birdsville, Cunnamulla, Goondiwindi, Mapoon, Quilpie, St George, Thursday Island, Thargomindah and Weipa.
There is a high fire danger across most of the state on Friday.
Severe Tropical Cyclone Jasper has strengthened to category 4 intensity on Friday morning and is moving to the south through the northeast of the Coral Sea.
Over the weekend, the cyclone is likely to weaken while turning westward towards the Queensland coast.
“While the timing of a coastal impact remains highly uncertain, the highest risk of a cyclone impact lies between Cooktown and Mackay, including Cairns and Townsville,” the Bureau of Meteorology said in their morning cyclone update.
“As Jasper approaches the coast there is a risk of re-intensification and the potential for severe impacts.”
Originally published as Hottest year on record declared as heatwave intensifies on Australia’s east coast
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