By Clare Blumer
State government agencies have activated a heatwave action plan, with soaring temperatures across most of New South Wales set to cap off 2016.
Police have issued alerts about extreme heatwave conditions for the next four days that will affect the north and mid-north coasts.
The Hunter and Sydney regions will experience more moderate heatwaves.
Western Sydney is forecast to hit 40 degrees Celsius today, with Maitland in the Hunter region to reach 41C, Tamworth 37C, Dubbo 39C and Grafton, in the state’s north, 36C.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said these would not be record-breaking highs, but the consecutive days of heat would really put pressure on people’s bodies.
“We have quite warm overnight minimums so people don’t get a chance to recover in the overnight period from the build up of excess heat in the day,” BOM duty forecaster Simon Lewis said.
— Surf Life Saving NSW (@slsnsw) December 28, 2016
NSW Health has told people to take some simple precautions:
- Stay well hydrated
- Avoid alcohol and hot or sugary drinks
- Limit physical activity
- Try to stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day
Sydney will be hottest today
“The hottest part of the state today will likely be Sydney, the Hunter and the north-west inland,” Mr Lewis said. “That will shift a little bit north on Friday so we’ll probably see the higher temperatures persisting in the Hunter and the north-west inland, but probably extending up onto the north coast.” The origin of the heat is the Great Australian Bight, with a slow-moving high-pressure system sending up north-westerlies and dragging up hot air over the state, Mr Lewis said.
“It’ll get warm quite quickly today, and tonight again through Sydney we’ll probably see the temperature not getting below 20 degrees,” he said.
Whatever the city dwellers are feeling, it will be much worse inland. “The highest temperatures will probably be 42 to 43 around Moree or Walgett — that wouldn’t be records for those areas,” Mr Lewis said.
“What really makes this such a hazardous situation is that they’ll be seeing temperatures in that range for about three or four days in a row.”
Surf Lifesaving NSW released a safety plea asking people to watch out for heat stroke.
“The first initial steps people should take are to seek the shade, stay well hydrated, and to try and control their breathing,” a spokesman said.
“If this isn’t successful or the person’s condition deteriorates we strongly urge you to alert a lifesaver or lifeguard.”
For more information about staying safe in the sun, go to NSW Health’s Beat the Heat information page
This post originally appeared on ABC News.
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