Sydney, Australia, Dec 8 (EFE).- An intense heatwave with temperatures pushing past 40 degrees Celsius and the threat of powerful Cyclone Jasper have Australians in the south and the east of the country on alert.
One of the greatest concerns lies in the most populated state of New South Wales, where the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has predicted that temperatures will exceed 40C on Friday and Saturday in several locations, with expected maximums of up to 46C.
State authorities have ordered the closure of around 20 rural schools and prohibited outdoor bonfires, due to the risk of them spreading, in the districts of Lower Central West Plains, Southern Riverina, Northern Riverina and South Western (more than 200 kilometers west and southwest of Sydney).
The risks have the potential to rise on Saturday, given forecasts for temperatures of up to 44C in western Sydney and the surrounding Central Coast, thus reproducing the conditions that occurred in the ‘Black Summer’ of 2019-2020, when hundreds of bushfires destroyed an area the size of Turkey and claimed 33 lives.
In the state of Victoria, authorities are on alert as temperatures will exceed 40C on Friday and the following days in the northeast, bordering NSW, and due to the possibility of destructive winds in the north of Melbourne and other neighboring jurisdictions.
Also in the state of South Australia, which occupies part of the south and center of the country, authorities are fighting several bushfires while preparing to face potentially catastrophic conditions this weekend generated by the heatwave, with temperatures expected up to 47C.
On Friday, South Australian firefighters were focused on fighting several blazes, especially in the towns of Hamley Bridge, Lochiel and Melrose, about 270 kilometers north of the city of Adelaide.
On another front, the authorities of the northeastern state of Queensland were preparing for the onslaught of Category 4 Cyclone Jasper, which will potentially hit the city of Cairns and surrounding towns next week.
Australia is expected to face drier than usual weather due to El Niño, the warm phase of a climate pattern across the tropical Pacific that, aggravated by global warming, could cause more disasters.
This year, large and destructive bushfires have already been recorded throughout October in the NSW and Queensland, claiming the lives of at least three people. EFE