In what has been a mostly wet (wetter than normal) and mild summer for Australia, the continent is now dealing with extremely harsh weather conditions, a characteristic common in the summertime.
Temperatures have risen up to the 40s in southeastern Australia, with some areas expected to reach 45 degrees celsius. The heatwave has stoked bush fires near the city of Adelaide and has caused significant damage to homes and residential towers.
The Bureau of Meteorology explained that the large pressure system sitting out in the Tasman and inland trough act together to funnel in a hot northerly air mass. The air mass brings along with it severe to extreme heatwave conditions, with temperatures being expected to increase up to 16 degrees above the average in some areas.
The SA Country Fire Service duty commander, Yvette Dowling told reporters that the Country Fire Authority teams were assessing the damage. While two homes have been feared to be either damaged or destroyed, the firefighters believe that there could be up to 11 structures that have been affected by the fires.
More than 400 firefighters were at work trying to control the blaze, which has now burned more than 2,500 hectares (around 6,177 acres) of land, and has recorded an overall fire perimeter of 24km.
As Australia prepares for Australia Day on 26 January, the heatwave is expected to continue in New South Wales and Queensland. However, on Monday, sweltering conditions have eased in most areas of Victoria and South Australia. "In Melbourne, the heatwave is over," senior BOM meteorologist Dean Narramore said.
While authorities are still on alert for possible bushfires, meteorologists are expecting lower temperatures this week.