New South Wales has sweltered through the night amid the state’s first heatwave of the season, with no respite to arrive until the end of Sunday.
Parts of Sydney – including the CBD – broke the 40C barrier on Saturday while swathes of western NSW, South Australia and northern Victoria baked through even higher temperatures approaching 45C.
While temperatures were set to cool in South Australia and Victoria on Sunday, NSW’s eastern and north-eastern regions were forecast to sweat through another day.
Central Sydney was likely to hit 40C as north-westerly winds held back the sea breeze, while Penrith was expected to reach 42C.
Temperatures in the Hunter were forecast to hit 43C, while much of north-east NSW was expected to break the 40C barrier.
A gusty southerly was not forecast to arrive until later on Sunday afternoon, bringing cooler temperatures for Monday before the heat returned to NSW from Tuesday.
South-east and southern Queensland were also likely to experience elevated temperatures from Monday, with no respite until at least Thursday.
The Rural Fire Service issued a total fire ban for most of eastern and north-eastern NSW for Sunday, including greater Sydney, Illawarra, the Hunter and north coast.
“It will be a really long, uncomfortable night [on Saturday] and then a really long hot day and then a really windy southerly change,” the Bureau of Meteorology manager Jane Golding told reporters on Saturday.
“The body doesn’t really get much respite, it’s quite hard.”
RFS deputy commissioner Peter McKechnie on Friday urged NSW residents to have fire plans ready and prepare properties.
“This is the first time since the devastating season last year we’ve seen widespread elevated fire danger,” McKechnie said.
Last summer’s bushfires destroyed 2,476 homes and claimed 26 lives.