Lives at risk in likely record heatwave

Stock image.
Stock image.

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.

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.”

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.

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