Environment

Sydney’s scorching burst of heat could break hot weather records

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Weatherzone meteorologist Kim Westcott said the mercury was expected to peak late in the afternoon.

"We're looking at a pretty even spread of temperatures across the city, about 40 to 41 degrees basin-wide. So there's no relief at the beach.

"It will still remain quite hot until about 7pm or 8pm and will probably be quite a hot evening."

Beachgoers took to the water at Clovelly to beat Sunday's stifling heat.

Photo: Ben Rushton

Ms Westcott said Sunday's heat brought temperatures well above the long-term average for March of 25 degrees.

The Sydney CBD was also edging towards its hottest March day – which was recorded at 39.8 degrees on March 9 in 1983 at Observatory Hill – in about 150 years of records.

"Maybe we will see a record today," Ms Westcott said.

People at Clovelly early on Sunday ahead of a hot day in Sydney.

Photo: Ben Rushton

A record-breaker was slightly less likely in the western suburbs, where the hottest March day in the past 20 years of records was 40.6 degrees at Penrith in 1998.

Meanwhile, the NRL game between the Parramatta Eels and the Manly Sea Eagles has kicked off at Brookvale Oval on Saturday afternoon in temperatures above 38 degrees.

The burst of heat had been caused by a large volume of hot air in the country's interior that was sweeping across NSW, according to Ms Westcott.

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While Monday was expected to be warm, temperatures were expected to drop to about 23 degress for the second half of the week, bringing cloudy skies and showers.

"If people want to make the most of the sunshine, now's probably the time," Ms Westcott said.

The NSW Rural Fire service issued a total fire ban covering more than half of the state, including the Greater Sydney Region, Greater Hunter, Illawarra/Shoalhaven, Far South Coast, Monaro Alpine, Southern Ranges, Central Ranges, North Western, Lower Central West Plains, Southern Slopes and Eastern Riverina regions.

At 2.30pm, there were 27 bush and grass fires burning across the state, with 17 uncontained.

The NSW Rural Fire issued an "emergency" warning for a blaze burning in bush close to Bega shortly before 4pm. The fire is burning under "strong and gusty north-westerly winds", and is threatening properties in Tathra.

Residents in the Thompson Drive area have been told it is "too late to leave".

Bush fires are threatening properties in Tathra.

Photo: Dan Bennett

A "watch and act" warning was issued on Saturday in relation to another fire burning in Bega, close to isolated properties, but firefighters have slowed the spread of the fire.

Meanwhile firefighters are "gaining the upper hand" on a bush fire burning close to a number of isolated properties at Greenwich Park, near Goulburn. A "watch and act" warning remains in place at 4.30pm.

Strong winds sweeping through the ACT amid recent dry weather conditions dragged a dusty haze across Canberra on Sunday afternoon.

In Victoria, homes were destroyed as firefighters battling fierce winds worked to contain a cluster of fires burning out of control in the state's south-west.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

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Megan Gorrey is a reporter at the Sydney Morning Herald.

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