THE Bureau of Meteorology is warning that the heatwave, which has already affected several states, will continue unabated well into this week.
Assistant director Weather Services, Alasdair Hainsworth, said that the very high temperatures already being experienced in Western Australia are now extending eastwards across the continent, driven by an extremely hot air mass.
“Extreme heat events, such as this one, have wide ranging impacts across agricultural and horticultural sectors, infrastructure and transport, and not least human health and safety,” Mr Hainsworth said.
Temperatures are expected to reach the high 30s on the coast and peak in the mid-40s in some inland locations.
“Another concern is the amount of vegetation following two wet years, which has led to high fuel loads, that continue to dry out and raise concerns about increased bushfire risk. Fast moving grassfires are of particular concern.
“The next change is expected to move through southern inland and coastal regions around Tuesday or Wednesday, but in other areas temperatures are expected to remain high, with a continuation of heatwave conditions well into next week,” Mr Hainsworth said.
Police are reminding motorists about the danger of leaving children, the elderly or pets unattended in cars.
State Emergency Operations controller, assistant commissioner Mark Murdoch, said not only was it dangerous to leave children or animals in cars, it could be deadly.
“While everyone should be aware of the impending hot weather, there is one golden rule which should never be broken: never ever leave babies, children, the elderly or animals alone in a car even if the air-conditioner is on,” he said.
“It doesn’t take long for the temperature inside the car to soar, and for the effects of the heat to take hold.
“For those who will flock to beaches to escape the heat and cool down, beware of the dangers of drinking alcohol and being out in the sun all day – it’s not a good mix.”