‘Heat engine’ to lead to soaring temps

After a cool start to 2021 in the south and east, Australia’s “heat engine” is cranking back to life and that will lead to soaring temperatures in the coming days.

Melbourne has generally had mild weather during the New Year. But the mercury is creeping up and on Monday the city could top out at a scorching 37C.

Residents of Perth know all about that, it’s barely been below 30C in the Western Australian capital for weeks, but after a blistering Friday, a cool change should bring a brief respite.

In Queensland, drenching rains continue to fall bringing 200-300mm of moisture and the risk of flooding over the coming days.

“As we head into the weekend, the heat engine is finally switching back on due to a reduction in tropical activity over northern Australia,” said Sky News Weather meteorologist Alison Osborne.

“That will mean warm conditions across southern and eventually south eastern Australia. So, after a cool start to summer things are starting to ramp up.”

But it may only be a temporary change to proceedings. While the monsoon is heading into an inactive phase, which still brings rain to the north of the continent but also allows some of that heat through, it’s likely to spring back into life again in a few weeks. So enjoy the sun and hotter temperatures while you can.

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For the coming weekend however, the major weather event will be the continuing deluges in tropical Queensland.

“There has been torrential rain in the northern parts of Queensland,” said Ms Osborne.

“The remnants of tropical cyclone Imogen will direct wet weather north of Mackay on Saturday and north of Townsville into Sunday and flooding will be possible.”

Townsville could see between 70-120mm on both Saturday and Sunday.

Further south, Brisbane is mostly out of the firing line of the rain with a sunny weekend expected and maximums in the high twenties.

Stormy in Darwin with a few showers. Days should reach 33C with overnight lows of 25C.


That heat engine lies just across the Western Australia border from the NT, brooding above the Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

Karratha could peak at 42C on Tuesday and may not see a maximum below 40C all week.

Perth continues to see baking highs with 41C forecast for Friday and 37C for Saturday. Bushfire warnings are in place for some communities north of Perth.

A westerly cool change will finally drop temperatures to below 30C on the coastal strip on Sunday, but the mercury will start climbing again come Monday.

The heat bubbling up in the Pilbara will start pushing its way towards the south over the weekend. Adelaide will see 34C on Saturday, 36C on Sunday and higher still on Monday with minimum temperatures in the low to mid twenties.

Manageable maximums in the high twenties, maybe even touching 30C, for Melbourne until Monday. But then, to start the week, the temperatures will jump to 37C before falling just as dramatically to a high of 24C on Tuesday. Following that see saw of temperatures, a run of summer days in the low thirties will ensue.

Inland, in places such as Bendigo, Wodonga and Mildura, you can up the maximums by a few degrees Celsius. Mildura could reach 41C on Monday.

Hobart will feel the heat too, after a weekend settling around 24C. On Monday, it will reach 33C before a drop back into the twenties.

Canberra will see 27C on Saturday, 31C on Sunday and then 34C on Wednesday with a sunny week ahead.

Sydney, like Brisbane, will likely not see a day in the thirties – but it will get close. The weekend will hover around the high twenties before touching 29C on Tuesday and then remaining at that level for the following days. Lows should be in the high twenties.

Little in the way of rain but head further north along the New South Wales coast and you can expect a shower or two on the weekend.

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