GALLERY: Illawarra to return to cooler conditions

It wasn’t quite the scorching summer day predicted.

On Friday, the Illawarra Regional Airport weather station at Albion Park recorded a maximum temperature of 33.9 at 12.30pm.

Meantime, in the Illawarra’s northern suburbs, the Bellambi weather station recorded a maximum of just 26.6 degrees around midday.

They were perfect conditions for members of the Hawks, who hit the surf at North Wollongong Beach with Nutri-Grain Iron man and woman brother-sister team Josh and Hannah Minogue.

A heatwave had been tipped to take temperatures as high as 40 degrees in some parts of the Illawarra, with a ridge of high pressure over the Tasman Sea bringing hot and sunny conditions to the region.

The synoptic situation prompted the NSW Rural Fire Service to declare a total fire ban for the Illawarra, and a severe fire danger rating was issued.

While the Illawarra is expected to return to cooler conditions in coming days, the Bureau of Meteorology has issued a warning to residents planning to travel to other parts of the state.

The bureau’s assistant director of weather services, Alasdair Hainsworth, said the heatwave could last for about a week.

‘‘Unfortunately it is going to be be a fairly protracted period of hot weather,’’ he said.

‘‘Maybe in some of the coastal locations it won’t be quite so protracted, but over inland parts of south-eastern and eastern Australia, I think we are looking at around about a week’s worth of very hot weather.’’

Mr Hainsworth warned Christmas travel plans could be disrupted.

‘‘This is the first protracted heatwave of the spring-summer period over such a large area,’’ he said.

‘‘People should be aware that it is going to get very hot. Travel plans [may] start to be disrupted.’’

Wollongong’s maximum is tipped to hover between 23 and 32 in the coming days, with minimums between 18 and 22.

On Christmas Day, a maximum of 23 is predicted, with the possibility of a shower late in the day.

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