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'Extreme' heatwave set to hit Australia's northwest

The three-day heatwave forecast map. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology
The three-day heatwave forecast map. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

As the eastcoast of Australia is drenched with rain, the Top End is facing a "severe to extreme" heatwave, with Katherine's temperature set to have among the highest temperatures in the country.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), this is "one of the most significant" heatwaves seen so far this year, which is impacting the whole northwest of the country, because of both the expected temperatures and duration.

BOM Duty Forecaster Jonathan How said temperatures are set to climb above 45 degrees in parts of the Kimberley and the Pilbara over the next few days.

"Because of all that heat, quite a few centers across the Pilbara and the NT will have the dubious honour of being the hottest places in the world," he said

"In the past 24 hours, Marble Bar [in the Pilbara] has been the hottest place on earth - 45.6 [degrees celsius].

"And in the top 15 [hottest] places in the world, Australia occupies the top 13."

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Katherine is also set to be among the hottest places around, getting up to 42C today, 42C tomorrow and 41C on Saturday.

"Katherine, when you're getting away from Darwin, you're getting up to the low 40s each day, and this heat's just really going to stick around with us right into the weekend," Mr How said.

He said the heatwave has formed following a significant amount of rain in Northern Australia.

"It's all due to, basically, we've had quite a bit of rain across parts of Northern Australia over the past few weeks or months. But that's kind of cleared off and we're in this very clear sky pattern at the moment," he said.

"So that's basically allowed a lot of the heat to build across the northwest of the country."

He said the average temperature for the NT today was 39.9C, which is 2.8C above the average for this time of year.

"You're not not quite a record breaking but still very significant because it is just so incredibly hot," Mr How said.

High humidity levels are set to make the already high temperatures feel even higher, before relief comes in the form of thunderstorms next week.

"Particularly into next week, that's when the Top End and Kimberley and kind of Queensland will be looking at some of the first kind of real impacts of La Nina," Mr How said.

"And so we'll definitely be seeing plenty of thunderstorm action and it might be enough in some places, particularly in Darwin, to trigger some places officially into the monsoon."

This story 'Extreme' heatwave set to hit Australia's northwest first appeared on Katherine Times.