Sydney to swelter under December heatwave

Channel NewsAsia 27 Dec 16;

SINGAPORE: A heatwave established in the Southeast region of Australia on Christmas eve is expected to continue to intensify for the rest of the year, affecting major cities such as Sydney and Canberra.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) on Tuesday morning (Dec 27) showed that severe heatwave conditions are expected to persist through parts of New South Wales, eastern Victoria and Tasmania for the next three days.

BOM classifies a heatwave as three or more days of high maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual for a specific location.

The sizzling weather is predicted to affect New South Wales capital Sydney, where temperatures are forecast to hit a high of 37°C on Thursday, and stay in the 30s until New Year's Eve before easing to a maximum of 26°C at the start of the new year.

According to Australian media reports, bushfires will be a serious concern amid the hot conditions.

The Daily Telegraph, noting the heatwave in Sydney, reported on Tuesday that there were 28 fires burning across New South Wales.

BOM also released a warning on Tuesday morning noting "worsening fire weather conditions" due to the "warm to hot" weather in South Australia.

By Thursday, "extreme" heatwave conditions are forecast near the mid-North coast of New South Wales, with daytime temperatures reaching 40°C on Thursday and 41°C on Friday.

The most severe classification of heatwaves used by the BOM, extreme heatwaves are "rare and exceptionally intense", impacting normally reliable infrastructure such as power and transport and posing a risk for even healthy persons who do not take precautions to keep cool, according to the BOM website.

These conditions are expected to persist over Northeastern New South Wales and Southeast Queensland - a region including Brisbane - over the New Year weekend.

- CNA/mz

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