TAKE CARE: Coupled with an uncharacteristically dry January to date, the conditions will no doubt have firefighters on edge.
TAKE CARE: Coupled with an uncharacteristically dry January to date, the conditions will no doubt have firefighters on edge. Michael Nolan

Temperatures soar as the dry drags on

A WIDESPREAD heatwave will gather intensity as the week progresses.

Far from the 40-plus temperatures expected in some regions, the Mid North Coast will still feel the heat between Thursday and Saturday.

Coupled with an uncharacteristically dry January to date, the conditions will no doubt have firefighters on edge.

The last recorded rain fall at the Coffs Harbour airport was on December 22.

"Mean rainfall for January is 187.5mm, with the lowest 10 per cent of recordings 39.6mm or less,” Gabrielle Woodhouse from the Bureau of Meteorology explained.

"The lowest recorded rainfall in January for Coffs Harbour was 11.8mm in 1994.”

The mean number of days of rain in January is 15, second to only March, meaning it would nearly have to rain every day for the remainder of the month to be on average.

The bureau is warning Aussies to take care in the hot conditions this week.

For NSW the heat comes on the back of the warmest year on record for both mean temperature and mean maximum temperature.

The year was dominated by very dry conditions, with the third-driest January to September on record. October to December saw some relief from the dry, with above average rainfall across parts of the state. Despite this, NSW experienced its sixth-lowest annual rainfall on record; its driest year since 2002.

Temperatures for later in the week:

COFFS HARBOUR - Thursday (30); Friday (30); Saturday (32)

GRAFTON - Thursday (35); Friday (37); Saturday (38)

KEMPSEY - Thursday (33); Friday (35); Saturday (36)

Highest January temperatures on record:

COFFS HARBOUR - Jan 18, 2017 - 41.3.

GRAFTON - Jan 7, 2004 - 44.6.

KEMPSEY - Jan 12, 2013 - 43.9.

Across the nation:

In Sydney the mercury is set to tip 40C in the western suburb of Penrith from Tuesday through to Friday.

Victoria's north is set to swelter through a potentially record-breaking heatwave, with towns along the Murray River bracing for a run of days above 40C.

In South Australia, the outback town of Oodnadatta will reach a top of 47C on Monday, while those in Adelaide will be offered little reprieve, with temperatures set to sizzle at 39C.

The Bureau of Meteorology said a heatwave, caused by hot air being blown from Central Australia, would persist until Saturday and could break temperature records around Broken Hill.



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