Relief at last, as cool change sweeps one capital city

Temperatures to drop in SE Australia

Source: Bureau of Meteorology

There has been some relief at last for some from the heatwave that has pummelled southern Australia – but millions are still sweating through record temperatures.

A cool change reached Hobart on Monday afternoon, leaving the temperature sitting at about 20 degrees – a no-doubt welcome change for many after the Tasmanian capital hit 33.8 degrees on Saturday and endured one of its hottest March nights in years.

But further north, records kept tumbling as the heatwave across Victoria, South Australia and southern NSW stretched into its third day.

The Bureau of Meteorology said temperatures were expected to reach the mid to high 30s on Monday in every Victorian district except the high country.

Forecaster Weatherzone said Melbourne fell no cooler than 27.1 degrees on Monday morning – the city’s hottest March night in five years. Many regions across Victoria also had similar overnight temperatures, as did South Australia.

“At 7.30am AEDT, temperatures were still hovering around 30 degrees in some parts of southern Victoria and South Australia as persistent northerly component winds funnelled heat into the nation’s south-east,” Weatherzone wrote on Monday.

Victoria’s temperatures across the Labour Day weekend have been up to 16 degrees above average.

Heatwave warnings remained for much of the state on Monday, as well as in Tasmania and South Australia.

Many Western Australians were also enduring extreme temperatures, along with torrential rain and flooding in much of the state.

Torrential rain has inundated the state’s central and southeast, affecting the areas around Cocklebiddy, Eyre and Rawlinna and Carnegie.

The popular coastal destination of Exmouth, meanwhile, experienced temperatures in excess of 38 degrees Monday, with the hot weather predicted to last through the week

Perth was expected to escape the more severe weather, with highs in the low 30s and a chance of a shower later in the week.

It has also been warm in Canberra, although without the extreme heat of further south and the west.

“Canberra … has seen consistent above-average temps through the first 10 days of March 2024, with daytime maximums around four degrees above average. The city should reach 30 degrees today and 34 degrees on Tuesday,” Weatherzone said.

Victoria swelters

BOM senior meteorologist Sarah Scully said Victoria hadn’t endured three consecutive days of autumn temperatures in the high 30s since 1942.

“Melbourne’s had a number of March overnight minimum temperature records broken and there’s also been some maximum temperature [records],” she told ABC News Breakfast.

“There’s a really strong and stubborn high-pressure system in the Tasman Sea that directs hot, northerly winds over south-eastern Australia and these blocking high-pressure systems also prevent cold fronts from being able to sweep across those southern parts of the country and flush away the heat.”

Some relief is on the way for Victorians on Tuesday, with the cool southerly wind change due to reach the state overnight. Weatherzone said it would return temperatures to more normal levels – although South Australians will have to wait a bit longer.

“This is particularly true for Melbourne, which is currently expecting a maximum of 25 degrees on Tuesday, while Adelaide can continue to expect temperatures in the mid-30s for a couple more days until a stronger southerly change comes through on Thursday,” it said.

Saturday’s extreme conditions forced the cancellation of a host of outdoor festivals and parades. Melbourne’s famous Moomba Parade was cancelled due to safety concerns for performers and spectators.

Patrons at the Pitch Music and Arts Festival in south-west Victoria were told to leave by Saturday morning. Those yet to arrive were warned to stay away.

In Adelaide, one WOMAD stage was closed on Sunday due to the heat, while other events were postponed until late at night or cancelled.

The SA Ambulance Services responded to at least 50 heat-related callouts during the weekend.

Total fire bans with extreme fire danger remained for six SA districts on Monday, as well as two in south-western Victoria.

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