The first heatwave of the summer season is poised to hit New South Wales with hot, dry winds bringing high temperatures, raising fire dangers and providing health risks to the vulnerable.
The peak heat days will be Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, with temperatures away from the coast forecast to climb over 40 degrees for several days in some areas.
Bureau of Meteorology NSW Manager, Ann Farrell, said that the hot weather would be widespread in all areas except the coastal fringe, where sea breezes and southerly winds would provide some relief. ‘This week the ACT and most of New South Wales will see daytime temperatures eight to twelve degrees above average, with warm overnight temperatures in central and south-eastern areas providing little relief.’
Ms Farrell says along with the heat, gusty winds and wind changes from weak fronts yesterday and again on Thursday will make conditions difficult for fire-fighters, with fire dangers expected to reach Very High or Severe in some Districts, especially inland.
Smoke is expected to continue to affect areas in the east of the state and raised dust may also affect air quality later in the week, particularly on Thursday and Friday.
NSW Health’s Director of Environmental Health, Dr Richard Broome, said it was important to plan ahead to be prepared for extreme heat.
The BoM is recommending a number of simple things that can help to reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
• Try to be indoors as much as possible during the heat of the day, minimise physical activity and
keep well hydrated.
• If you don’t have air conditioning, using a fan can help to keep you cool. Keeping doors, windows and curtains shut also helps to keep it cool inside.
• Check in with elderly neighbours, friends and relatives because they may be more vulnerable to the heat.
• People who are more susceptible to the health effects of heatwaves include: the elderly, infants and young children, people who have to work in hot conditions, people on certain medications, people who are unwell or have a chronic illness and people who live alone.
• For more practical advice on how to stay healthy in heatwaves, see the NSW Health website; https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/beattheheat/pages/default.aspx.
Dr Broome says signs of heat-related illness include confusion, dizziness, fainting, nausea, vomiting, weakness, headaches, heavy or loss of sweating, muscle cramps, dry swollen tongue, rapid pulse and rapid shallow breathing. ‘People showing any of these signs should try to get to a cool place and seek urgent medical attention,’ he said.
The Heatwave Service is available on the Bureau’s website at: www.bom.gov.au/australia/heatwave.
For the latest forecasts and warnings, visit www.bom.gov.au or download the Bureau’s App.