While millions will swelter through severe heat on the first day of the new year, one state will be hammered with torrential rain and flood warnings.
Millions of Australians will swelter on the first day of 2022 as heatwaves continue to blast the country’s southeast.
Uncomfortable weather has shifted from Western Australia to the country’s east prompting warnings for elevated fire danger levels as families come together to celebrate the first day of the new year.
A large high pressure system has drawn heat down from the centre of Australia, with Melbourne feeling the brunt of the warm weather with a maximum temperature of 37C predicted on Saturday.
While the sun will shine for most of the day a southerly change is forecast for the afternoon, with temperatures dropping by at least 10C by Sunday.
The Bureau of Meteorology warned Victoria of severe heatwave conditions from Thursday right through to Sunday.
Melbourne residents will sweat on the last day of the year, with the mercury climbing to 36.3C by 2pm, coming close to the city’s hottest day of the year in January 2021.
Fire agencies have warned people living and travelling to remote Victorian areas to stay on high alert for fire conditions, as very high fire ratings are in place across most of the state.
Country Fire Authority chief officer Jason Heffernan said the heat and hot, dry winds could lead to fires.
“A wet winter and spring is now behind us, and December has been very dry in large parts of Victoria,” Mr Heffernan said.
“On hot, dry and windy days like the ones we are expecting this weekend, anyone in regional areas of Victoria, and even on the metropolitan fringe, needs to stay alert to conditions, make sure they have downloaded the VicEmergency app and stay informed.”
Acting Fire Rescue Commissioner Gavin Freeman said grassfires posed a particular risk this summer after a wet spring resulted in significant grass and scrub growth.
“Grassfires can move at speeds of up to 25km/h and jump highways,” Mr Freeman said.
“Avoid any fires along your planned route by setting up ‘watch zones’ in the VicEmergency app before you leave to receive updates about any nearby incidents.”
Sydneysiders will also enjoy the sun on Saturday with a sunny but humid day and temperatures rising to 29C.
More warm weather is also expected for the duration of the long weekend, with temperatures remaining in the high 20s, allowing beachgoers to soak in the sun.
An afternoon thunderstorm is predicted for the harbour city but it is expected to remain in the west.
Warm temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s will remain over the first week of 2022, but some showers are predicted in the afternoons.
Adelaide has also sweltered into the new year with heatwave conditions pushing the mercury to temperatures of 38C on Friday.
While it won’t hit quite as high, the city is set to experience highs of 34C on Saturday before dropping to 29C on Sunday.
SA Country Fire Service assistance chief officer Brett Loughlin said the CFS was preparing for extreme heat and dry conditions over the weekend.
Mr Loughlin said the CFS was working with planned new year’s events to protect from any potential fire danger.
“It could very well be that if conditions aren’t conducive to allowing safe use of fireworks then we might see those events … cancelled or conducted differently,” he said.
“We don’t want our brave volunteers to be seeing in the new year risking their lives somewhere just so someone could have their 30 seconds of whiz-bang.”
The heat is also being felt in the nation’s capital with the mercury tipped to swell into the 30s in Canberra on Saturday.
The warm weather will continue into the week, but showers and thunderstorms will dampen the city.
While most of the country will have sunny skies, it’s a different story in Queensland and the country’s north, with tropical rains dampening North Queensland and the Northern Territory.
A low pressure has brought heavy rains to the area, with more wet weather predicted over the weekend.
Brisbane is set to receive rainfall on Saturday due to the tropical system across the top half of the state, bringing unsettled conditions to new year revellers.
Residents living in Brisbane and the Gold Coast have been warned of floods with temperatures set to reach a balmy 28C.
‘This is one situation where there is less confidence in the rainfall outlook as a lot will be governed by what that tropical low does as it meanders offshore (and possibly onshore) over the next 10 days,” climatologist Andrew Watkins tweeted on Friday.
While the bureau predicts monsoonal rain and squalls, Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski warned cyclones could also hit Queensland’s north.
“It will come out of the gulf with a low chance of it becoming a cyclone in that area but will push across into North Queensland from about Cooktown to as far as Townsville,” Mr Gollschewski said.
“We will see significant amounts of rain and high wind.”
While Perth has been suffering with heatwaves and fire warnings for much of the week, the city will have a short reprieve of the severe weather.
Temperatures are predicted to reach 30C on Saturday but it won’t be as hot as the severe heatwave conditions in the state earlier in the week.
The four consecutive days over 40C at Christmas had only occurred twice before, in 2016 and 1933.
Perth will once again prepare for warnings with 38C predicted by Wednesday.
Hobart is welcoming the new year with a partly cloudy day and maximum temperatures of 26C.
Rain and cooler temperatures are forecast for the rest of the long weekend.