PERTH residents are being asked to check on neighbours as the city swelters through a record-breaking heatwave expected to claim lives.
The weather bureau is forecasting three straight days of more than 40C as a high-pressure system crosses the state.
Perth hasn’t before recorded more than two 40-degree December days, while four straight would equal the record for any month.
Uncomfortable night in #Perth. Temps cooled to 20.7° just after midnight, before the easterly winds kicked in, driving the temp back up to 27.4° around 1:30am. With the current temp around 32° just before 9am, we're well on track to arrive at the forecast 41°. @WAHealth pic.twitter.com/zDspUhl8ez
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) December 13, 2019
WA’s health department has activated a state hazard plan aimed at reducing stress among vulnerable target groups and at major events.
“Unfortunately, we will probably get some deaths in this heatwave,” chief health officer Andrew Robertson told reporters.
“They tend to be elderly or those with chronic disease who are impacted adversely by the heatwave.
“It becomes really critical that we do look out for our neighbours and our relatives who might be impacted and make sure that if they’re becoming unwell, get them to seek medical care early.”
Max in #Perth today was 39°C at 2.27pm and this is now the 8th day in December of max temps above 35°C. The record for Dec is 13, set in 1931. Forecast for next 3 days is 41°C, 41°C & 40°C Hot spot in #WA was Fitzroy Crossing, 46.3°C. @WAHealth https://t.co/thbrM0xCxM pic.twitter.com/3pptLYvGEQ
— Bureau of Meteorology, Western Australia (@BOM_WA) December 12, 2019
Dr Robertson added that high overnight minimum temperatures would add to the risks for those with chronic illnesses.
Bureau of Meteorology spokesman Neil Bennett said there was unlikely to be strong winds or thunderstorms that could spark bushfires.
He said there was clearly evidence temperatures were warming over the long term despite relatively mild summers over the past two years.
“It is part and parcel of West Australian summers, it is just a very early start this year,” he said.