Weekend heat prompts fire bans
Intense summer heat will grip much of southeastern Australia this weekend, causing the worst fire weather in at least two years for some areas.
A large mass of hot air drifting south from the Interior will send the mercury soaring this weekend.
The hot weather will combine with dry and gusty northerly winds ahead of a front, producing dangerous fire weather in multiple states.
Temperatures are forecast to reach the mid forties in parts of SA, NSW and Victoria during the weekend.
On Saturday, Adelaide and Melbourne are both forecast to reach 41 degrees in the city, which is 12 and 15 degrees above average for this time of year, respectively. This would be Melbourne's hottest day in two years.
While Hobart's top of 33C on Saturday is cooler by comparison, it's still 11 degrees warmer than usual for a January day in the southern city.
While cooler weather will return to southern parts of SA, much of Victoria and Tasmania on Sunday, the heat will linger further north.
Severe to extreme heatwave conditions are forecast in many areas of NSW and the ACT between Friday and early next week.
Canberra is forecast to reach at least 33 degrees between Friday and Monday and hit 36 to 38 degrees this weekend. This would be 8-10 degrees above average for January and the first weekend to have two days over 36 degrees since 2015.
Sydney's heat will be most intense in the western suburbs, away form the sea breeze. Some suburbs could have their hottest weekend in more than 20 years, including Richmond, which is forecast to reach 41 degrees on Saturday and 44 on Sunday.
After this weekend, Richmond will have registered six 40 degree days so far this summer, setting a new record for this early in the season. The previous record was five days from the summer of 1957/58.
Fire authorities have issued total fire bans across Victoria and all but two districts of SA on Saturday. Fire danger ratings are likely to reach Extreme in parts of both states and may reach Catastrophic (Code Red in Victoria) in some areas.
Based on the weather conditions on Saturday, some central and eastern parts of SA and western Victoria could experience their worst fire weather in at least two years. For some locations, it could be the worst fire weather since Black Saturday.
© Weatherzone 2018