Fire fighters on red alert as extreme 40 degree heatwave weather is set to hit the east coast

Sydney will most likely endure scorching temperatures into the 40s on Friday as powerful westerlies blowing from Australia’s red hot centre block cooling sea breezes.

Australian authorities have issued total fire bans and closed several national parks across New South Wales as fire-fighters prepare for the extreme heatwave to deliver Sydney’s hottest November day on record.

Most of the Riverina region, in the state’s southwest, is expected to experience temperatures in the mid 40s on Thursday, with strong westerly winds of up to 60km/h exacerbating the severe fire risk.

Beaches across the state were inundated by residents who struggled to stay cool in the ‘extreme conditions’, with many underestimating the heat and looking for cover shortly after hitting the sand.

Sydney was forecast to reach 32C, with temperatures expected to reach 41C in the city’s west on Friday.

Brisbane and Canberra were expecting peaks of 33C and 34C on Thursday, while Darwin and Adelaide were forecast to reach 35C.

Perth and Hobart are the coolest of the eight capitals, with temperatures expected to peak at 23C and 24C respectively on Thursday. Even Melbourne was tipped to reach 30C despite a forecast of a cool change.

NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the soaring temperatures coupled with strong dry winds have created ‘awful’ conditions for fire-fighters.

‘We are expecting extreme fire danger in and around the northern area [of the Riverina] and it is likely that we will see similar conditions tomorrow,’ Mr Fitzsimmons told AAP.

Friday’s heat will be fairly uniform across the Sydney Basin because of the expected strength of the warm westerlies.

“There’s very little chance of a sea breeze to moderate the heat,” Mr Haigh said.

For Friday, most of the state will be above 39 degrees at the warmest point of the day, the bureau predicts.