Christmas Day is going to be roasting in parts of SA, the NT and WA with above average temperatures in many other areas. Picture: BSCH
Christmas Day is going to be roasting in parts of SA, the NT and WA with above average temperatures in many other areas. Picture: BSCH

Christmas Day marks start of heatwave as Australia swelters

UPDATE: Whoever said they were dreaming of a white Christmas obviously never celebrated December 25 Down Under, because today Santa is bringing an absolute scorcher.

Heatwaves have been forecast for much of the country with some capitals expected to see runs of days all with maximums higher than 30C - and further inland you can expect more like 40C.

While conditions are expected to be calm through the week - meaning no more thunderstorms and golf-sized hailstones - it's also going to be painfully hot.

Christmas Day is going to be roasting in parts of SA, the NT and WA with above-average temperatures in many other areas. Picture: BSCH
Christmas Day is going to be roasting in parts of SA, the NT and WA with above-average temperatures in many other areas. Picture: BSCH

"All of the models are predicting a ridge of high pressure for southern Australia for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day," Sky News Weathermeteorologist Tom Saunders said.

High-pressure systems generally lead to dry conditions and the sheer size of the ridge means its effects would be felt from Tasmania all the way to southern Queensland and southern Western Australia.

EARLIER: Heatwaves have been forecast for much of the country with some capitals expected to see runs of days all with maximums higher than 30C - and further inland expect more like 40C.

While conditions are expected to be calm through the week - meaning no more thunderstorms and golf-sized hailstones - it's also going to be painfully hot.

"All of the models are predicting a ridge of high pressure for southern Australia for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day," Sky News Weathermeteorologist Tom Saunders said.

High-pressure systems generally lead to dry conditions and the sheer size of the ridge means its effects could be felt from Tasmania all the way to southern Queensland and southern Western Australia.

"This is the start of a prolonged and an intense heatwave. Widespread 40-45C heat, daily records potentially broken and longevity records could also be broken," Sky News Weather meteorologist Tristan Meyers said.

"(It will be) very, very intense and at the very least it's going to be the worst heatwave we've seen since January and it has the potential to challenge the heatwave of 2009 in the southeast."

Approaching Christmas, the Bureau of Meteorology has forecast heatwaves across swathes of Queensland, the Northern Territory and down into much of NSW.

South Australia will cop the strongest heatwave with temperatures in Adelaide expected to push into the 40s later this week. Towns in the north of the state, including Marree and Oodnadatta, are expected to hit 42C tomorrow.

The southern state will experience its first sustained period of hot weather this summer, with the mercury staying high across much of the state for at least the next seven days.

Meanwhile, Perth and Far North Queensland are also likely to be as hot as a Christmas turkey.

And in some inland Australian towns, heat records are set to be broken. The day after Christmas, Coober Pedy is expected to have six days of 40C-plus weather with four of those hitting 46C.

Mildura, Victoria is also gearing up for a six-day heatwave from Boxing Day with the mercury struggling to drop below 40C.

It will be wetter in Northern Australia, with the remnants of Cyclone Owen still likely to be whipping up some rain.

"Over the next couple of days, Owen will go back north again (towards Cairns) but it's not expected to develop back into a cyclone," Mr Saunders said.

"There's a chance of showers but just regular wet season storms and it won't be enough rain to cause further flooding."

Senior BOM meteorologist Claire Yeo said despite the "beautiful" days ahead, Aussies shouldn't become complacent.

Christmas could mark the start of a low intensity heatwave inland, with temperatures increasing from the northwest coast of Western Australia extending down into the southeast, she said.

"When you have very hot temperatures bordering into that extreme and a lack of rainfall, it always leads to the potential of fire dangers increasing."

CHRISTMAS WEATHER AROUND THE CAPITALS

In terms of temperatures, Christmas Day is looking generally warm, in some places very hot, across the south of the country with sunny days and blue skies.

Christmas Day in Sydney is looking like 29C and sunny.

In the nation's capital, Canberra is set for a maximum of 33C and sunny on December 25.

While today's Christmas Eve is a scorching 34C in Melbourne, Tuesday will cool slightly to a top of 26C.

Hobart is set to reach 30C today but will be cloudy for Christmas with a pleasant 22C maximum.

In Adelaide, the high-pressure system could see the mercury top out at a blistering 35C on a sunny Christmas Day. Perth will match with a top of 35C as well. It will be part of a heatwave in the Western Australian capital with around six days above 30C, reaching 39C on Saturday.

In the Top End, Darwin won't deviate from the norm, with thunderstorms and a top of 34C for Christmas Day.

Finally Queensland, and the BOM has Brisbane on 29C and partly cloudy for Christmas Day. Northern Queensland could be wet though with Cairns copping up to 25mm of rain on Christmas Day with a high of 31C, its seventh day above 30C. Townsville will also be at 31C but with less rain forecast.

Cool off on Christmas Day with a trip to the beach. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Cool off on Christmas Day with a trip to the beach. Picture: Jonathan Ng


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