Understand the risks of heatwaves
Extreme heat poses serious health risks, and can cause disruptions to critical infrastructure and services. Understand the risks of a heatwaves so you can adapt and prepare to stay safe.
What is a heatwave?
A heatwave is 3 or more days when both maximum and minimum temperatures are unusually high for a location.
Heatwaves are graded by their intensity – low, severe or extreme.
Most people can cope during low-intensity summer heatwaves. However, severe heatwaves are challenging for vulnerable populations, including elderly people, pregnant women and very young children. Extreme heatwaves affect all people who don't take precautions to keep cool.
Increased risk of a heatwave
Climate change factors including higher average temperatures, dry and hot conditions, and an El Niño climate pattern mean heatwaves over summer may become more frequent, hotter and last longer. Future climate-change predictions expect this trend in rising temperatures to continue.
Average temperatures in NSW are projected to rise by 0.7ºC by 2030. View the Interactive climate change projections map to view the future climate projections in your area.
It is important that you prepare for heatwaves to protect your health.
Stay up to date on the risk of a heatwave
The Bureau of Meteorology provides heatwave warnings from November to the end of March.
NSW Health will issue a heat alert at any time to remind people to take precautions to protect their health if early-season hot weather or heatwave conditions are forecast.
Know your risk of a heatwave when travelling
When planning a trip away, it's important to find out the risk of a heatwave at your destination and what to do if you are caught in one.
Check what your travel insurance covers if heat interferes with your travel plans or the enjoyment of your trip. Check what is covered if you suffer heat stroke, heat exhaustion or other illnesses related to the hot weather.