Illawarra weather: widespread Wednesday warmth amid heatwave

Jack Dixon, from North Queensland, watches the NSW vs QLD Australian Country Cricket Championships game from the shade of a tree at Figtree Oval. Picture: Robert Peet
Jack Dixon, from North Queensland, watches the NSW vs QLD Australian Country Cricket Championships game from the shade of a tree at Figtree Oval. Picture: Robert Peet

Along the coast or inland, the heat will be on regardless of where you find yourself on Wednesday.

Lake Illawarra, the region’s pools and our beaches will be the best spots to be as a “low-intensity heatwave” tightens its grip and sends temperatures soaring. 

The lack of a sea breeze should see the mercury climb to similar levels on the coast and inland, before the winds shift south-easterly in the early afternoon and bring some coastal relief. 

Wollongong should reach 36 degrees on Wednesday, while 37 is the expected top at Albion Park. An afternoon or evening storm is possible. 

Earlier Bureau of Meteorology forecasts tipped both spots would hit 38 degrees.

The Bureau of Meteorology's heatwave alert.

The Bureau of Meteorology's heatwave alert.

Thursday will bring a brief reprieve from the heat, with a milder city top of 25 degrees.

The mercury climbs again, to 34 degrees inland, on Friday.

The bureau has issued heatwave alert for much of NSW, with the Illawarra and South Coast set to experience a “low-intensity heatwave”.

The weather forecaster defines a heatwave as three or more days of high maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual for a particular location.

The average January maximums are 24.8 degrees on the coast (Bellambi) and 26.7 degrees inland (Albion Park).

The average January minimums are 19.0 and 16.6 degrees, respectively

Overnight lows aren’t expected to dip below 20 degrees in Wollongong and 19 degrees at Albion Park for the rest of this week.

Keep your cool to avoid heat stress

Knowing the signs of heat stroke could save you a trip to the emergency department according to a South Coast GP.

Dr Jarrod Alkemade said scorching hot summer days could spark a range of heat-related illnesses, with infants and the elderly at most risk.

“High temperatures can quite quickly lead to heat cramps and heat exhaustion, and in more serious cases people can experience heat stroke,” he said.

“Small children and the elderly are especially at risk, as well as people with comorbid conditions such as diabetes and people with acute illnesses like gastroenteritis.”

With temperatures set to soar this week, Dr Alkemade urged people to prepare for the heat.

“It’s important to maintain good hydration by drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol,” he said.

“Remain in a cool environment as much as possible – cool your house by using airconditioning if you have it or spend time in the coolest part of your house.

“Avoid strenuous activity or exercise, and if you’re starting to suffer from the heat remove any excess clothing and put wet towels or cool dressings on your arms and neck or take a cool shower.”

Mild to moderate dehydration can lead to dizziness and tiredness, while symptoms of heat exhaustion can also include headache, nausea or vomiting, shallow breathing and fainting. Heat cramps cause muscle pains and spasms.

Meantime heat stroke – which occurs when the body temperature rises above 40.5 degrees – can lead to a life threatening emergency.

“Symptoms of heat stroke include confusion, rapid pulse and shallow breathing – and in the worst case scenario can lead to loss of consciousness or even seizures or coma,” Dr Alkemade said.

“It’s important if you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke to call Triple-0 as they may require intensive treatment.”

Dr Alkemade urged people to take care of loved ones and check in with elderly neighbours during heatwave conditions.

They should also seek medical advice or assistance from their GP if required.

- Lisa Wachsmuth

Weather outlook

Wollongong forecast, as of 4.45am on Wednesday. Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Wollongong forecast, as of 4.45am on Wednesday. Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Albion Park forecast, as of 4.45am on Wednesday. Source: Bureau of Meteorology

Albion Park forecast, as of 4.45am on Wednesday. Source: Bureau of Meteorology