A new heatwave warning system is being adopted across Australia. 

Bushfire-style emergency warnings will now be issued for heatwaves, broken down into three phases: ‘advice’, ‘watch and act’ and ‘emergency’.

Heatwaves are the most deadly natural hazard in Australia, with the exception of disease epidemics. There were 473 heat-related deaths reported in Australia between 2000 and 2018, with 354 of these occurring during heatwave conditions.

In most forecast climate scenarios, the frequency and intensity of heatwaves is set to increase. 

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) says the dangers of heatwaves are not as well recognised as other hazards.

The new heatwave warnings will be made over the bureau’s website and weather app, as well as through state and territory agencies.