Sydney temp
A couple shade themselves from the sun under an umbrella on a hot day in Sydney November 20, 2009. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Sydney will sustain another scorching day on Tuesday, with mercury levels reaching nearly 40 degrees Celsius. Southerly winds will likely present a relief from the heat starting 1PM on Tuesday, but an extreme heatwave will return over the weekend.

This year, Sydney has experienced four January nights when the temperature remained over 24 degrees Celsius. The previous record for the same in January was two nights.

On the other hand, the city has sweltered through eight days when temperatures stood at or higher than 35 degrees Celsius. The previous best was nine days. On Tuesday, the maximum temperature will likely reach 37 degrees Celsius, which will equal the previous record with a month of summer yet to arrive.

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Rebecca Kamitakahara said although Tuesday is expected to be a hot day for Sydneysiders, there could be some relief in the afternoon – thanks to the southerly change that could lower the mercury levels. Speaking with AAP (via News Corp), Kamitakahara said, "It's going to be a pretty fresh south easterly wind coming up the coast so there will be a noticeable temperature drop.”

By evening, temperatures in Sydney should drop to about 24 degrees Celsius. Greater Sydney Region and the Greater Hunter have been issued a total fire ban. Dry and windy conditions for Tuesday will remain a cause of concern for New South Wales firefighters. With vegetation being hot and dry, windy conditions could cause potential damage. “We need people to be very vigilant, report all fires to Triple-Zero straight away,” RFS spokesman Greg Allan said.

As part of the ban, one cannot use a fire in the open or conduct an activity that could cause fire. General purpose hot works, like welding or gas cutting, cannot be carried out in the open.

Brisbane is expected to record a temperature of 30 degrees Celsius for Tuesday, while Melbourne is expected to be cooler at 22 degrees Celsius. Perth may experience heavy rain. Hobart, Darwin and Canberra will likely see showers.

The forecast for February is expected to make the month hotter than average for Sydney and broader New South Wales. Nights will likely remain warm. The temperatures recorded in December made it the hottest December on record. If the forecast for February comes true, Australia could be facing its hottest summer in more than 150 years.

A series of heatwaves and weak southerly changes in the beginning of 2017 has caused mercury levels to rise across Australia’s eastern states.