Records are expected to shatter across the country over coming days as an “abnormal” heatwave creates unbearable temperatures in four states.
Birdsville, in western Queensland, was the hottest place in the world on Friday, reading a top of 46.5 degrees, while the Nullarbor in South Australia came in second warmest with 46.4 degrees.
The hottest November day in Birdsville on record is 48.5, in 2006.
Bureau of Meteorologist forecaster Jonathan How said records could be shattered and there would be no sign of relief for some parts of the country until Thursday.
Across NSW, Victoria and South Australia, it is expected to be the most intense heatwave experienced in a decade.
While heatwaves are normal for this time of year, Mr How said this one was “abnormal” considering it would leave communities sweltering through multiple days and nights.
In addition, there are extreme fire danger warnings current for much of the country, with a fear fires that develop amid the scorching temperatures could be extremely “difficult to get under control.”
The mercury in many towns through South Australia hit 42 degrees on Friday, with the heat extending into Victoria and NSW, expected to continue throughout Saturday.
“There’s a big dome of heat sitting across there,” Mr How said on Saturday morning.
“That heat will intensify further today, before it moves east. We’re looking at temperatures in the low to high 40s across western NSW, northern Victoria, eastern South Australia and southern Queensland.”
Mr How said Roxby Downs and Marree could reach 47, with some towns tipped to reach 48.
It will be “insanely hot” in western NSW, with Broken Hill, Mildura, and towns along the Murray and up into the Riverina expected to reach 45.
Western Sydney will swelter through its second day of above-40 temperatures, with the CBD and beaches expected to reach the high 30s.
There are severe to extreme fire dangers for South Australia, Victoria and NSW throughout Saturday, with very strong, hot winds coming off the desert helping to “elevate” the fire dangers.
However, a cool change is coming, Mr How said.
“It will move through northern Victoria today and into tonight,” he said on Saturday morning.
But while the rest of the country sweats through the weekend, Melburnians might need to reach for a jumper.
“They’re the exception to the rule because they’re under a cloud band,” Mr How said.
“It will be 25 and showery on Saturday with heavy showers expected on Saturday night.”
The heat will shift further east on Sunday, with the Sydney CBD tipped to reach 39, and some western parts of the city could peak above 40.
A cool, southerly change will come through late Sunday afternoon or early evening which will dramatically drop temperatures.
“However there will be very strong winds, and there are possible dry thunderstorms around,” Mr How said.
Dry thunderstorms could start new bushfires, despite above average rainfall in much of NSW in previous months.
Western Brisbane and the Southern Downs will bear the brunt of the heat on Sunday, with Ipswich expected to reach 38 degrees.
High temperatures will continue in northern NSW and south east Queensland until at least Thursday, with the BOM warning of consecutive days of temperatures in the high 30s/ low 40s.