25 January, 2012 11:03AM AWST
Extreme weather forecast for WA
By Brooke Bannister
Western Australia has a significant week ahead weather-wise with an expected record-breaking heatwave, possible category three cyclone and strong winds causing a fire risk.
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Perth is set for a record breaking week of very high temperatures while the State's North West prepares for a potential cyclone and thunderstorms.
The tropical low off the North West Coast of Western Australia has the potential to develop into a category three cyclone according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Perth is bracing itself for extreme temperatures over the next week with 40 degrees being the expected average top temperature.
The minimum temperature forecast won't bring much relief either hovering around the mid-20s overnight.
People are being urged to keep hydrated and cool over the next week, especially on the Australia Day public holiday.
Bureau of Meteorology Manager of Weather Services Grahame Reader says the week ahead could be the hottest Perth has experienced.
"We can expect a potential record-breaking week with really searing temperatures," Mr Reader said.
"Perth, for example, could be close to 40 degrees for a whole week, if that comes off it could be record-breaking."
There is no relief in sight with temperatures staying above 35 degrees into week ahead.
"Extremely high temperatures and bad fire weather conditions are expected in the south with Perth's maximum temperatures expected to hover around 40 degrees.
As the temperatures stay high in the state's south and the humidity dries up there will be an increased bushfire risk.
Bushfires have already broken out in Gracetown, Manjimup, and Chidlow while firefighters continue their attempts to control a fire burning near Carnarvon since December.
FESA's Acting Chief Operations Officer Lloyd Bailey says now is the time to prepare a fire plan for people in fire-prone areas throughout the state.
"With so many hazards possible we're urging people to get ready, have a plan and remain vigilant and alert," Mr Bailey said.
Mr Bailey says keeping cool and in the shade will help avoid the symptoms of heat stroke as well as limiting alcohol consumption.
"Alcohol can be an issue of course, we all know what a combination of sun and alcohol does - it can lead to some silly actions and we don't want a person doing anything that's going to endanger themselves or anyone else."
A tropical low off WA's Pilbara coast has the potential to develop into a severe tropical cyclone later this week as it changes direction. A 'severe' tropical cyclone is classed as a category three or higher cyclone.
The Bureau of Meteorology has released a tropical cyclone track map and is releasing updates on its movements.
On Wednesday or Thursday the system is expected to develop into a category one tropical cyclone and by Thursday or Friday it could upgrade to a category two. It's expected that the system may take a more southerly track, bringing it closer to the coast.
The Bureau says gale force winds are not expected in coastal communities on Wednesday or Thursday, however there is a possibility that coastal communities near the North West Cape, including Coral Bay, Exmouth and Onslow, will experience gales on Friday.
Rainfall is likely to increase later in the week in coastal parts of the Pilbara and on the west coast north of Cape Cuvier.