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Burst of summer heat prompts fire ban in Sydney

Ben Domensino, Thursday December 14, 2017 - 10:00 EDT

Authorities have issued a total fire ban for Sydney today as the city's residents brace for the warmest day so far this season.

A mass of hot air that sent the mercury soaring to 39 degrees in Adelaide and 37 degrees in Melbourne on Wednesday has shifted east towards Sydney. Temperatures are forecast to reach 37 degrees in the city and up to 42 degrees in the west this afternoon, which would make this the warmest day since last summer.

If Penrith reaches 42.4 degrees this afternoon it will be the hottest December day during the site's 22 year history. Penrith's current December record of 42.3 degrees was set in 2009.

A sea breeze will moderate temperatures near the coast, although most of the Sydney Basin should reach at least the mid thirties this afternoon.

Today's heat will combine with gusty north to northwesterly winds, elevating fire danger ratings along the state's central coast and ranges. The NSW Rural Fire Service has issued total fire bans for the Greater Sydney and Illawarra/Shoalhaven fire areas until midnight tonight.

It will remain warm into this evening, particularly in western suburbs, before a cooler southerly change sweeps through the Sydney Basin overnight.

While this change will drop temperatures by around 10 degrees east of the ranges, it won't have much of a effect on the heat west of the divide. Severe heatwave condition will continue for many areas of inland NSW until early next week.

Thunderstorms may also develop ahead of the approaching change today, so keep an eye on the radar and latest warnings.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

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