Sydney may have shivered through its coolest February weekend in 19 years but it won't be long before the mercury jumps back above normal for this time of year.
The city's February's average maximum is 25.8 degrees and while temperatures over the weekend were only a couple of degrees below that mark, rain and winds made conditions feel much cooler.
The weekend was also the city's coldest in three months. Warmer conditions, though, will build up through the week, said Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist with Weatherzone.
Saturday may see Sydney's “best chance” of temperatures above 35 degrees, with more scorching weather set for western suburbs and inland towns, he said.
A hot air mass moving in from central Australia will push temperatures in places such as Bourke in the state's north-west close to or above 40 degrees late in the week.
Fire dangers will again rise this week but are unlikely to reach the extremes of January because of the absence of strong winds, said Jane Golding, a forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology. “It's not looking particularly bad.”
The mixed start of February comes after Australia in January posted its hottest ever month in more than a century of records.
“The recent heat was notable for the extent, with records set in every state and territory, and the nationally averaged daily temperature rose to levels never previously observed, and did this for an extended period,” the weather bureau said in an update to its special climate statement on the heatwave.
“A total of 44 stations with 30 years or more of data have set all-time record high maximum temperatures during this event, with a further 15 setting January records,” the bureau said.
“Some stations exceeded their previous records on multiple occasions; for example, Giles surpassed its previous record (44.8 degrees) on three separate occasions during the event, peaking at 45.7 degrees 16 January.”
Beyond this week, more heat can be expected with weather models point to a hotter spell by mid- to late-February, Weatherzone's Dr Dutschke said.
Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne could all see temperatures of 40 degrees from that second heatwave, he said.
In the coming week, a build-up of moisture levels will see also thunderstorms bring "a fair bit of rainfall" to large regions of southern Queensland and northern NSW, Dr Dutschke said.
"It will affect some flooded areas," he said, adding that the risk of lightning may cause concern to some areas, particulary in the north-western parts of NSW.
Meanwhile, communities along the eastern seaboard continued to mop up after major floods from the remnants of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald, particularly in the Queensland towns of Bundaberg and Rockhampton.