Coombes Transport service station in Menindee
Widespread temperatures above 40C are set to continue across large parts of the nation. Image by Stuart Walmsley/AAP PHOTOS
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Heatwave persists as inland temps nudge 50C

January 25, 2024

One of Australia’s hottest summers on record continues to produce temperatures well above average across the nation, including a scorching 49.4C in the Queensland tourist town of Birdsville.

Heatwave conditions swept across large parts of central and eastern Australia on Thursday with both maximum and minimum temperatures sitting about 6C to 12C above average.

Bureau of Meteorology warnings, some severe, have been in place for all five states, while locally extreme heatwaves impacted parts of far southwest Queensland.

Widespread temperatures above 40C swept across inland and eastern parts of Australia, with some inland areas nudging 50C.

“We haven’t seen these temperatures in several years,” senior meteorologist Gabrielle Woodhouse told AAP.

“Overnight minimum temperatures are also set to be really warm so there will be little respite.” 

The heat moved further east throughout the day, with Sydney reaching 35C and temperatures in the high 30s blanketing the NSW coast.

Newcastle peaked at 40C and towns across the Hunter including Cessnock, Scone and Singleton all hovered about 41C at 3pm 

The lower and upper west of the state still bore the brunt of the heat with Moomba recording 48C, Smithville 47.5C, Tibooburra 46C and Bourke 44C.

A vehicle heads towards Menindee on the Menindee Road
 Bureau of Meteorology heatwave warnings, some severe, have been in place for all five states. Image by Stuart Walmsley/AAP PHOTOS 

Tamworth hit 37C on Thursday afternoon ahead of the busiest two days of the Country Music Festival, which brings tens of thousands of visitors to the region.

One of the festival’s landmark live venues, The Longyard Hotel, was packed with revellers cooling off with a drink or two on the verandah.

Wide-brimmed cowboy hats were being put to good use under the blazing sun.

At the City Lights holiday park on the edge of town, campers cooled off with showers or under the shade of tarps and eucalyptus trees.

Jo O’Donoghue and her husband travelled to the festival from Corowa on the NSW-Victorian border.

The couple have been escaping the heat in their air-conditioned caravan.

“I would’ve liked to get out and see more but it’s just so damn hot,” Mrs O’Donoghue told AAP.

“I don’t know how the performers do it.”

Sunset Strip as seen from a drone over Menindee Lakes
 Temperatures above 40C have swept across inland and eastern Australia, with some areas nudging 50C. Image by Stuart Walmsley/AAP PHOTOS 

Inland areas of Southern Australia’s north and southwest Queensland also sweltered in temperatures in the mid to high 40s.

The outback town of Marree climbed to 48.3C while further northwest Moomba recorded 47.5C.

Roxby Downs, about 500km north of Adelaide, hit 45.7C while the outback town of Coober Pedy tipped 44C.

Queensland’s Birdsville recorded a peak of 49.4C with Bareera not too far behind at 46.3C.

The heat is set to continue on Friday before a cool change brings relief later in the day.

Cooler air will start to spread across the southern and eastern states on Thursday evening, dropping temperatures by Friday late afternoon.

The forecast change will bring cooler weather for almost all areas for the weekend.