A significant heatwave is set to move across Australia, challenging the 50ºc threshold and All-Time Australian record! Every state is expected to be impacted with the worst of the heat across Western Australia and South Australia. Above image – Forecast maximums on Thursday via OCF / WeatherWatch (the dark blue spot is >50ºc).

While there are plenty of unofficial 50ºc+ temperatures recorded in seasons gone.. there are only 3 official 50ºc temperatures recorded in Australian history – those being January 2 & 3 at Oodnadatta in Northern SA (50.7 & 50.3ºc respectively) and 50.5ºc at Mardie in WA. A big reason for this is that many areas that ‘could’ have reached 50ºc don’t have official stations to record the data… thats about to change this week.

A VERY DANGEROUS heatwave is expected to move across Australia. The timing of this heatwave will be different for everyone with the system already in place across South West WA which is breaking records. Its expected to intensify over Southern WA over the weekend and into next week whilst pushing in South Australia. Maximums across Wednesday (Dec 18th) to Friday (Dec 20th) are expected to absolute roast! Numerous locations across Inland SA, Western SA and South East WA are forecast to reach 48ºc+ with some locations tipped to nudge 50ºc and possibly challenge the All-time Australian record. This heat will move into Adelaide with 4 straight 40ºc+ days from Tuesday to Friday and then into Northern VIC and Inland NSW from Wednesday to Saturday and possibly beyond where peak temperatures may nudge the high 40’s.


Locations such as Forrest in SE WA, Port Augusta, Kyancutta, Wudinna, Kimba, Tarcoola, Coober Pedy, Andamooka, Mount Ive, Roxby Downs, Woomera are all in line to potentially reach 50ºc with all of these locations looking at 48ºc+ on forecasts and some above 49ºc on raw data. 50ºc has never been officially recorded in Australia in December. For numerous locations, December records are LIKELY to be SHATTERED by several degrees!

Forecast maximums for Australia on Wednesday via OCF / WeatherWatch. Pink >47ºc, light blue >48ºc, dark blue >50ºc.

Eastern parts of NSW will feel a 1 day burst of heat on Thursday with maximums into the mid 40’s across areas away from the Coastline. While Eastern QLD will see the heat into the weekend as well and towards Christmas with maximums again into the 40’s over SEQLD and into the mid 40’s for much of the week over Inland QLD. For Tasmania and Southern VIC it won’t be dramatic, but it’ll be a change from recent weeks where Winter has lingered. 

Forecast maximums for Australia on Friday via OCF / WeatherWatch. Pink >47ºc, light blue >48ºc, dark blue >50ºc.

There is a major concern with the cool change. While its expected to drop temperatures by 12-18ºc between days, the change is likely to bring winds of 50km/h+ with it and gusts nearing 80-90km/h on the latest data. These winds coupled with temperatures into the high 40’s is disastrous for fire conditions. This will be something to monitor closely. These temperatures are also extremely dangerous to human health with fit adults succumbing to heat stress VERY QUICKLY. It has the potential to pose a risk to human life for those who are directly impacted for excessive periods of time – and this includes anyone, but especially the elderly, young, pregnant and ill. 

Further updates will apply to various areas in the lead up!