Melbourne has endured its warmest night in almost five years but relief is on the way for the country’s southeast.
A cool change is expected to reach Adelaide early on Wednesday before it heads east throughout the afternoon.
It will be welcomed in Melbourne where the mercury remained near 30C in the early hours of the morning before dipping to 27.1C at 5.23am.
Conditions were more oppressive in Moorabbin where the temperature held above 28.1C.
The cold front should reach Melbourne about midday and Hobart in the afternoon, bringing possible showers and isolated thunderstorms.
Maximum temperatures will fall by 10 to 15C and are expected to hover around average or below average on Thursday and Friday, before warming up again into the weekend.
Elevated areas of Victoria and Tasmania could also see potentially damaging winds of up to 90km/h ahead of the change, expected to ease by Wednesday afternoon.
A severe wind warning has been issued for the central and eastern ranges in Victoria, including the Grampians and Otways, and for southern, central and eastern districts of Tasmania.
Inland NSW towns could reach 40C on Wednesday before the cool change, which should reach Sydney on Wednesday night.
Sydney’s outer west should reach 35C but the city looks likely to notch up its first year without a day above 32C.
Warnings are also in place for parts of the Northern Territory’s Barkly district where ex-Tropical Cyclone Ellie is dumping heavy localised rainfalls bringing flash flooding.
The system is expected to track close to Tennant Creek on Wednesday before moving northwest and intensifying in the Gregory district and Kimberley region of Western Australia later in the week.
Yachts arriving in Tasmania for the Sydney Hobart are expected to see winds swing from northerly overnight to southwesterly early on Wednesday afternoon, along with the slight chance of a shower.
Temperatures are tipped to warm up again over southeast Australia into New Year’s Eve, becoming warm to hot for the long weekend.
Early forecasts for New Year’s Eve:
Sydney 20C – 26C. Shower or two.
Melbourne 19C – 34C. Partly cloudy.
Brisbane 22C – 30C. Possible shower.
Perth 20C – 32C. Sunny.
Adelaide 17C – 32C. Sunny.
Hobart 15C – 27C. Partly cloudy.
Canberra 15C – 27C. Partly cloudy.
Darwin 26C – 30C. Showers. Storm.