Get set to sweat, Illawarra – a blast of true summer heat is about to hit the region.
Hot and humid conditions are expected to persist for much of this week, with maximums of 28 degrees or higher expected in Wollongong over four consecutive days from Tuesday.
Temperatures will be even warmer away from the coast, with the mercury likely to climb into the mid-to-high 30s at inland locations like Albion Park, Nowra and Bowral by Friday.
The blast of warmth will bring “severe heatwave” conditions to much of the Illawarra, with western parts of the region set to swelter through an “extreme heatwave”, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The bureau defines a heatwave as “three or more days of high maximum and minimum temperatures that are unusual” for a certain location.
Wollongong’s average maximum temperatures for this time of year are 24.9 degrees at Bellambi and 26.9 in Albion Park.
The intensity of this week’s hot weather will be exacerbated by high humidity levels, bringing “hot and muggy” conditions, according to bureau meteorologist Anita Pyne.
“Moisture in the air … definitely makes it feel worse than if it was dry [heat],” Ms Pyne said.
“The ‘feels like’ temperature will be pretty gross. Moisture does have the added benefit of not being as bad for fire danger, but it’s still going to be very hot.”
Ms Pyne said the heatwave was the result of northwesterly winds dragging warmth from central Australia down over NSW.
At this stage, a southerly change is expected to move through the region during Friday night or early on Saturday.
The change will bring a drop in temperatures.