A man enters the water at the baths at Coogee Beach earlier this week. Photo: Kate GeraghtyA blisteringly hot end to 2016 is in store for Sydney and those holidaying up the coast, prompting warnings from authorities to take care in the heat.
There’s good news, though, for those making plans to enjoy the New Year’s fireworks around Sydney Harbour.
Sydney’s temperatures are expected to reach 30 degrees in the city and 37 in the west on Wednesday. The heat will be more punishing on Thursday, with 37 degrees tipped for the city and 42 in Penrith.
“The sea breeze won’t be as strong tomorrow into Friday,” Steph Spackman, a duty forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, said.
The bureau’s heatwave service predicts almost all of the NSW coast will have a severe heatwave for the three days from Wednesday, while most of the rest of the state will have a low-intensity heatwave. (See chart below.)
The heatwave will intensify further, reaching extreme levels along the northern strip of coastal NSW for the three days from both Thursday and Friday.
Travellers should take care to carry sufficient water, check the air-conditioner and keep an eye on how others are coping, Ms Spackman said.
“I’d hate to be stuck in a traffic jam,” she said. Relief some way off
On current forecasts, Sydney won’t cool off noticeably for several more days. Tops in the city are forecast to reach 33 degrees on Friday and 40 in Penrith.
Saturday will also warm into the low 30s in the city and mid-30s in western suburbs.
Importantly, overnight temperatures aren’t expect to drop below 20 degrees before next Tuesday at the earliest, inhibiting the ability of people – and pets – to cool off after the warm days.
“The evenings will be quite warm and uncomfortable due to the humidity effects,” Jacob Cronje, a senior meteorologist with Weatherzone said, adding that the high humidity expected will make conditions feel a couple of degrees warmer that the stated forecasts
“The only massive drop in temperatures will arrive on Monday,” he said.
Sydney is likely to get some rain on Sunday, but not until the morning or early afternoon and so conditions should remain muggy but otherwise dry for revellers out near the harbour to welcome in 2017, Mr Cronje said.
There’s the chance of a thunderstorm in Sydney’s west on Saturday evening but sea breezes are likely to keep any storm activity away from the coast, the bureau’s Ms Spackman said.
The hot spell is potentially the warmest final week of the year for Sydney for more than half a century, taking into account averages of minimums and maximums, Weatherzone, says. Warnings
Several agencies have issued warnings about the coming heat, particularly as it may coincide with festivals and other year-end events.
There have also been as many as eight deaths in NSW since Christmas from drowning.
“Festival organisers should ensure that partygoers have access to free drinking water, shade, first aid services, and quiet areas where patrons to relax when they need a break,” Michael Gannon, president of the n Medical Association, said in a statement.
Festival attendees also had a role to play in ensuring their own safety, and that of people around them, especially with alcohol and other substances being consumed.
“Taking illicit substances is illegal and dangerous, and tragically we have seen deaths and hospitalisations at festivals in previous years,” Dr Gannon said.
Ben Scalley, NSW Health’s Director of Environmental Health, said people should take precautions as the mercury starts to climb.
“Heat-related illness is very serious and ranges from mild conditions to very serious medical emergencies,” Dr Scalley said. “Heat puts a lot of strain on the body and can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. It can also make underlying health conditions worse.”
People should drink lots of water and avoid alcoholic, hot or sugary drinks, he said. They should also plan their day around the heat, minimise physical activity and wear sunscreen and a hat if outdoors.
“During hot weather, it’s important to stay in regular contact with elderly neighbours, friends and relatives and to look out for other vulnerable members of their community,” he said.
With many people heading to beaches and water ways to cool off, it’s also important people pay attention to possible hazards, said Mark Hutchings, Marine Area Commander for NSW Water Police, earlier this week.
“It is also important to know your own capabilities,” Superintendent Hutchings said. “If you’ve been drinking, you’re not going swimming: alcohol and water don’t mix.”
On the coast, people should aim to swim at patrolled beaches, and between the red and yellow safety flags, while those swimming in rivers should check for depth, current and submerged objects before diving in. Big wet
The remnants of ex-tropical cyclone, meanwhile, continue to bring wild and wet weather to other parts of ‘s south-east.
Victoria is expecting widespread heavy falls in the next day or so, after record rain fell in recent days across central .
A secondary low, now swirling in the Great Bight (see satellite image below), is expected to be pushed south of Tasmania as it moves eastwards by a large high pressure system siting over the Tasman Sea, Ms Spackman said.
Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.
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