WEATHER: Get ready to swelter, Australia
FIRE up those airconditioners and get ready to lock yourself in the freezer because this weekend is going to be an absolute scorcher.
While much of Australia partied through a wet and wild New Year's Eve, this weekend is going to be extremely different - bringing record heat to much of the country.
Sky News weather meteorologist Tristan Meyers told news.com.au the country's southern and eastern states will swelter through their hottest days in two years.
"There is a lot of heat coming this week affecting South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales," he said.
"On Saturday, it's going to be really hot in Victoria and Tasmania. Melbourne, Geelong and Launceston will have their hottest days in two years."
On Sunday, NSW will have its turn to sweat with much of the state expected to reach above average temperatures.
"We have seen some hotter days but the state is going to get pretty hot. Western parts of Sydney will absolutely swelter and Penrith will hit the mid-40s," Mr Meyers said.
The state will then be hit with incredibly hot, gusty conditions which will lead to a spike in fire danger throughout the state.
Those dangerous conditions won't last long however, with much of Australia expecting to see a cool change on Sunday night.
One of the sharpest drops in temperature brought on by the cool change will be seen in Melbourne where the mercury will hit 41C on Saturday but drop to 20C on Sunday.
In Western Australia, things are going to be a little more normal after Perth residents today suffered through a sweaty 36C.
"The forecast doesn't look too crazy in the west for the rest of the week. Inland, temperatures will reach high-30s for the rest of the week. It's still warm, a little bit above average but basically just nice summer weather," Mr Meyers said.
The Top End and Darwin will celebrate its first week of 2018 with incredibly humid conditions and hotter than average temperatures.
"The average for this time of year [in Darwin] is 32 degrees and it's currently 34 degrees.
"While that might not seem like a big difference, because there's so much humidity every degree counts, particularly overnight," Mr Meyers said.
While Sky News said this week's scorching weather couldn't technically classified as a heatwave, it will be a hotter than average forecast meaning there's no better excuse to grab your gear and head to the beach.
Earlier this week and at the end of 2017, much of the east coast of Australia was hit with supercell storms - specifically in Kempsey and Ballina where locals reported 5cm wide hailstones.
"It does look like we're going to get some more bad storms in northeast NSW extending as far north as Townsville," Mr Meyers said.
Yesterday, severe thunderstorms across southeast Queensland plunged 1000 homes into darkness as volatile weather battered the central and southern part of the state.
Despite that, the Sky meteorologist said today will be the last bad storm day however, it's "touch and go" on the east coast for the rest of the week.
"[Storms] in Brisbane are absolutely possible," he said.
Yesterday, 2.5cm hail was reported in the Queensland suburb of North Maclean while gusts of 100kms an hour were recorded in the NSW towns of Ballina and Cape Byron.
This morning, Stoney Creek, near Townsville, received 56mm of rain in 30 minutes.
"Queensland will settle down a little bit for the rest of the week and it won't hit populated areas as much as before," Mr Meyers said, admitting that today and yesterday was the worst for storms.
An extended forecast for the first three months of 2018, including the rain-bringing La Nina event, bodes for a cooler year in most areas.
Once the hot and humid conditions subside, over the next three months most of Western Australia, southwest South Australia, northern Tasmania, eastern Victoria, NSW and southern Queensland will be wetter and cooler than average thanks to a La Nina event.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued the La Nina alert, saying there is three times the normal chance of the event which generally brings above average rainfall.