December heat records are expected to tumble in Australia from Wednesday as a heatwave moves across South Australia to Victoria and New South Wales. Temperatures are forecast to peak in Victoria and South Australia on Friday, with Oodnadatta and Port Augusta to reach 48C, and peak in NSW on Saturday. NSW has been placed under a total fire ban from midnight on Tuesday to midnight on Saturday as firefighters battle to contain more than 100 fires burning around the state, including the 400,000 hectare Gospers Mountain megafire in Wollemi national park in the Blue Mountains. Smoke from this fire is forecast to lay thick over Sydney on Wednesday morning, but will shoot up to 3km up into the atmosphere on Thursday when the heatwave reaches western Sydney. Penrith is forecast to reach 44C on Thursday and 45C on Saturday, while the eastern suburbs of Sydney will reach 39C on Thursday and 35C on Saturday. Extreme fire danger is forecast for greater Sydney, the Illawarra and the southern ranges on Thursday.
Guardian 17th Dec 2019 read more »