Hamersley Ranges in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.
Heatwave conditions scorching WA's Pilbara region this weekend are expected to head east. Image by Rebecca Le May/AAP PHOTOS
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Scorching WA heatwave spreads east across country

January 21, 2024

Parts of the country are sweltering through high temperatures as a heatwave moves east after scorching Western Australia. 

Warm conditions are tipped on Monday for northern South Australia, southern parts of the Northern Territory, and Queensland while temperatures in the mid-30s are expected later in the week in Victoria and NSW.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Dean Narramore said WA’s Pilbara region was experiencing severe to extreme heatwave conditions, with temperatures in some regions reaching almost 50C.

The temperature in the small town of Paraburdoo reached 48C on Sunday, more than seven degrees above the average January maximum.

The conditions meant large parts of the mainland would be subject to low-intensity heatwave conditions, Mr Narramore said.

The hottest Australian temperature ever recorded was 50.7C in the Pilbara town of Onslow on January 13, 2023.

Onslow is located in the Shire of Ashburton, where president Audra Smith said residents were accustomed to extreme temperatures and weather during summer.

Ms Smith spoke to AAP from the town of Tom Price on Saturday morning, when the mercury had already tipped 44C.

“We do generally go up to the mid-40s quite often but when it goes over that and closer to 50C it is a different heat,” she said.

A file photo of the sun
 WA’s Pilbara could reach 50C while temperatures in southeast Queensland could climb into the 40s. Image by Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS 

Some reprieve from the searing heat was forecast overnight in WA with temperatures in the high 20s. 

Temperatures across southeast Queensland are expected to climb to the high 30s to low 40s in the coming days, with residents asked to look after vulnerable people including the elderly, young children, and pregnant women.

“Ensure that we keep up our water intake … try to stay out of the direct sunlight in the middle of the day,” Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Matthew Hannabery said.

“Seek cooler areas such as (in) air conditioning or inside houses where it’s nice and shady if you need to use cold compresses just to try to stay cool.”

NSW could also experience heatwave conditions during the week. 

Temperatures in the mid-30s are forecast in Sydney from Thursday while the city’s western suburbs could reach the low 40s. 

An extreme heatwave warning has also been issued for the northwest pastoral district of South Australia and much of the state’s north could experience high temperatures.