PHEW, it's getting hot around here.
Parts of the Clarence Valley will be gripped by a heatwave during the next few days, with the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) forecasting temperatures to top 30 degrees Celsius daily.
Grafton is forecast to reach a top of 33C today and the weekend is likely to be even hotter, with the mercury expected to top 37C tomorrow and 38C on Sunday.
Ashleigh Wilson, manager of the Bureau of Meteorology's Coffs Harbour office, said the scorching weather is the result of a hot air mass from northern Australia, which is being drawn south-east by a slow- moving low-pressure trough.
"We haven't seen an early season of long heatwaves since November 2009," Ms Wilson said.
"On December 7, 2009, the temperature in Grafton reached 35.2 degrees.
"Summer is on the way."
Relief from the sweltering heat could be found in the Lower Clarence communities of Harwood and Yamba, where temperatures are tipped to remain under 30C.
Yamba is expected to reach a top of 26C today, 28C tomorrow and 29C on Sunday.
The rising mercury across the Clarence Valley signals a very different start to summer compared with last year.
Ms Wilson said the cool start to summer in 2010/2011 was due to La Nina, the counterpart of El Nino, which brought above-average rainfall to regions across Australia.
She said the soaring temperatures were expected to continue across the region until early next week.
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