SYDNEY, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- As the island state of Tasmania continues to burn, Australia is bracing for a week calamity with officials upgrading bushfire conditions to "catastrophic" across much of the eastern seaboard.
Tuesday is D-Day for the state of NSW according to meterologist Nan Smith, who today told Xinhua that a perfect storm of weather fronts was moving across the country and would intersect near Sydney in less than 24 hours.
Smith said, "The red centre (Australia's desert plains near Alice Springs) has produced typically ferocious temperatures and that air is being lifted across the country to the eastern coast producing a very intense dry, low pressure system."
Australia's seasonal heatwave began in Western Australia on Dec. 27 and has so far already lasted for eight days.
Described as one of the fiercest in more than 80 years, the heat has steadily spread east making it the widest-ranging heatwave since the 1990s, according to a spokesperson from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.
The temperature is predicted to explode into the high 40's across much of NSW compounding the arid countries already calamitous bushfire scenario.
Smith described it as "the worst conditions we've seen since ' Black Saturday'."The Black Saturday fires, the worst in Australia' s history, killed 173 people in Victoria in February 2009.
The temperature in parts of the state are now expected to top 47 degrees, while in Sydney the mercury is forecast to climb to 43 degrees, making it the third highest temperature on record.
It has already been a shocking week for Australia, with the capital of Tasmania, Hobart, enduring its hottest day on record and suffering through almost 90 out of control bushfires that have destroyed hundreds of properties since Friday.
According to a Tasmanian government spokesperson there are thousands of people stranded, isolated or cut-off from fires and near 100 still unaccounted for.
As the bushfires continue to burn in Tasmania, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said Tuesday's "awful conditions" meant bushfires would spark very easily.
"We're going to experience conditions like we haven't seen for many many years," he told local television.
"Given we've got this plentiful supply of fuel, particularly grassland fuel, across much of the very bad weather areas fires will start very easily and spread very quickly."
An RFS spokesman, Ben Shepherd told Xinhua that there were already fires in NSW that would prove difficult to control when the conditions peak. "We are starting to see temperatures rise but it's the introduction now of those westerly winds which may be quite strong in some areas, gusts upwards of potentially 50km an hour," he said.
"That coupled with how dry it is out there at the moment is pushing fire dangers up."We have still seen some high fire dangers in the area and that is expected to deteriorate over coming days," he said.
"So what we're asking the public is to be vigilant and be prepared because there is a possibility we may see fire dangers even tip into severe and that may result in total fire bans."