Heatwave In Australia Could Reach Potentially Lethal 50 Degrees

While some of us were wishing for a white Christmas most Australians are just hoping for daytime temperatures to drop below 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) as their heatwave continues.

The Aus climate was always set to be pretty hot but parts of the country are set to feel heat up to 50C (122F) as the post-Christmas heatwave is forecast to carry on into 2019.

Sky News' Chief Meteorologist Tom Saunders told news.com.au: "We're in the middle of a heatwave at the moment in much of Australia. Today is day five of the heatwave and there's no sign of a cool change before New Year's Eve. New Year's Day will be day nine of that heatwave.

"We won't see a cool change until the middle of next week - it could be after that or another full week."

With the coast having cooler temperatures - if you can call anywhere between 25C and 40C+ cool - people have been flocking to the country's beaches for some relief.

Australia fire warnings in heatwave. Credit: PA
Australia fire warnings in heatwave. Credit: PA

However, residents of South Australia, southeast New South Wales, eastern Victoria and parts of central Queensland are set to get the brunt of it and one report from the Bureau of Meteorology said there was a temperature peak of 49.1C (120F) in Marble Bar, WA, yesterday.

These kinds of temperatures pose all sorts of dangers, not only for people's health but for the environment too.

New South Wales sent out an air quality warning for Sydney as ozone levels began to rise with the temperature.

The dangers imposed for humans come along in body temperature rises too high - anything above 40C runs the risk of the body overheating and could cause fatalities.

With high temperatures it can mean hot dry weather, which can cause fires - like the ones experience in California this year.

Australia fire warnings in heatwave. Credit: PA
Australia fire warnings in heatwave. Credit: PA

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons told news.co.au people need to be alert and aware of the fire risk as the heat soars.

He said: "While we haven't got total fire bans in place, this hot air mass is having a baking effect on the landscape that is rapidly drying out and curing the vegetation, which makes the vegetation susceptible to rapid fire spread.

"We don't need to wait for severe, extreme or catastrophic fire conditions to have a fire risk. The fire risk is very real and that's why it is very high in such large geographic areas."

He said the hot air currently over South Australia will continue to move east and begin dominating parts of regional NSW over the coming days.

Further fire warnings have been issued for Greater Victoria as north-westerly winds are set to reach the 'severe' warning in the Mallee and Wimmera districts.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Rachael Grealish

Rachael is a NCTJ qualified journalist from West Cumbria, with a passion for news, features and journalism. Outside of work Rachael loves plenty of coffee, running and reading.

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