Environment

Sydney weather: Beach beckons as heat warning issued

Heatwave conditions are forecast for most of the state in coming days, with NSW Health advising people to limit physical activities and spend time in air-conditioned buildings.

Temperatures in Sydney reached 31.6 degrees on Monday and as high as 38 degrees in western suburbs. The city should climb to a top of 36 degrees on Tuesday with 39 forecast for Penrith and Richmond.

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Wednesday should ease back a notch before Thursday, when the mercury is forecast to reach 41 degrees in the west and a top of 34 degrees in the city - or about eight degrees above average for January.

"Temperatures are set to rise and potentially be quite uncomfortable away from the sea breezes," Guy Dixon, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said. 

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Bondi Beach's Icebergs - one place to chill out in coming days.  Photo: Chris Lane

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a heatwave alert for most of NSW for the three days from Tuesday, including extreme conditions for the state's north-east: 

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NSW Health said people should stay hydrated and avoid alcohol or sugary drinks. They should also try to keep out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day.

"Everyone needs to take care in hot weather but some people are at higher risk of heat illness, especially if they are older, live alone or are socially isolated," NSW Health said in a statement.

The hottest temperatures in the state may come on Wednesday, when areas in the north-west such as Bourke can expect the mercury to climb to 45 degrees, according to the bureau.

A series of weak low-pressure troughs moving across Australia are drawing heat from the inland and these will converge on Wednesday, Mr Dixon said.

The heat, though, may come to a sharp end for much of southern and south-eastern NSW on Thursday as a strong southerly buster moves in. 

"The buster has the potential to drop temperatures significantly," Mr Dixon said, adding that some places should cool by as much as 15-20 degrees with isolated showers and thunderstorms accompanying the change.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.