IF YOU think Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane have been a little hot of late, you need to visit the outback towns which truly redefine the word scorcher.
While Sydney sweats through another hot and humid day with a top of 38C in the city and 41C in the west, residents in Birdsville and Bourke are bracing for far worse.
The outback NSW tourist town of Bourke, which hit 45C today, is due for a scorcher of 47C on Friday.
Residents in the town will have just one day below 40C on Sunday with the mercury set to soar higher again early next week.
Publican of the Port O Bourke Hotel Tracey Hegarty told news.com.au that once the mercury hit 40C people just stopped looking at the temperature.
“It’s hot, it doesn’t matter if it’s 40C or 47C,” she said.
With the temperatures hitting 41.5C by 11am, Ms Hegarty said the only way locals coped was by staying indoors.
It was that hot even at night that those lucky enough to have airconditioning kept it on.
“People just get used to the heat,” she said.
“Anyone who moves or lives here knows it gets hot so we are a tough town.
“We just cope with it and get on with it.”
She said people didn’t go outside unless they had to and most tried to do any outdoor work before the sun was up.
Those living in the outback Queensland town of Birdsville can sympathise with a top of 44C today, 45C tomorrow and 44C again on Friday.
Sunday will be the only day the mercury won’t hit 40C.
One local worker who spoke to news.com.au said it was 36C at 9am.
He said those who lived here did get used to the heat but admitted some locals coped in unusual ways.
“We tend to wear jeans on hot days — it’s the only way we don’t get sunburnt outside,” he said.
“You just wouldn’t wear shorts.”
He said the town which is a major stop on the tourist trail through Central Australia was pretty quiet with travellers absent and even locals disappearing indoors.
Admitting high temperatures weren’t completely unusual the local resident said this was particularly extreme.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning over the heatwave which has gripped parts of NSW, QLD, the NT and South Australia.
BoM senior forecaster Claire Yeo said people needed to take heatwave warnings seriously.
“Heatwaves remain our biggest killer (in terms of the environment),” she said.
“The 2009 Black Saturday fires killed 173 people but 370 died from heat-related illnesses leading up to that event.
“Even fit and healthy people can easily become fatigued and dehydrated on a hot day.
“This is quite extreme weather and we are asking people to take care.”
Ms Yeo, who works on the extreme weather desk, warned there would be little reprieve in sight from the sweat-inducing conditions which are set to continue well into next week.
“Things will heat up again next week and while a frontal system is moving over NSW, it won’t bring a significant change in temperature,” she said.
She said inland QLD will experience a few degrees drop in the temperature but that would be short-lived with a trough preventing the heat escaping.
Storms would also bring little relief from the heat.
‘Temperatures are 12 degrees above average for minium and maximum temperatures through inland NSW and southern QLD,” Ms Yeo said.
The BoM define a heatwave as three or more days of unusually high maximum and minimum temperatures in any area.
“This reflects that it is actually hotter than normal,” Ms Yeo said.
She said those regions being gripped by the heatwave, particularly inland NSW and southern QLD, would struggle to dip below 30C at night.
While coastal capitals would feel significantly cooler, humidity, particularly in Sydney, would make things feel a lot hotter.
The heatwave warning comes as residents in the town of Tibooburra, in the NSW northwest sweltered overnight with a minimum temperature of 31.2C.
Sydneysiders fared better, but many still had a hot night with temperatures only dropping to 23C in Penrith and 24C at Observatory Hill near the Harbour Bridge
NSW Health is also asking people to phone their elderly friends, neighbours and relatives at least once a day and eat smaller cold meals such as salad and fruit as the heatwave continues.
The BoM advise people to drink plenty of water, keep as cool as possible, and avoid prolonged sun exposure by staying indoors in cool or air-conditioned facilities.
For NSW residents keen to escape the heat, the Alpine villages of Thredbo and Perisher will be the coolest spots, with a forecast temperature range of 7C to 22C on Wednesday, AAP reported.
And as the south swelters, the far north has been swamped with almost a metre of rain falling in the past seven days and more on the way.
Brisbane is also bracing for hotter than normal conditions hitting a high of 34C today, well above the average temperature of 29C for this time of year.
The Gold Coast is also expected to reach 34C, with the Sunshine Coast a little cooler at 32C.
The mercury is expected to climb a whopping seven degrees beyond the average maximum in some southern parts of the state.
Birdsville, along with Thargomindah, are expected take the title of Queensland’s hottest towns, with 44C and 45C tomorrow.
And Queenslanders shouldn’t expect much relief even at night with the minimum temperatures expected to be well up over the next few days,
Last night, the mercury remained at between 32C and 35C in parts of the southwest, nine degrees higher than the average minimum temperature for that region.
In Queensland’s soggy north, even more rain is expected in coming days but it won’t match the drenching recorded over the past week.
A weather station on the Johnstone River at Innisfail, south of Cairns, recorded 946mm in the week to 9am yesterday.