St George and Sutherland shire scorched on the weekend

Sydney swelters: Crowds began to gather early at Cronulla's beaches on Sunday. Picture: Merryn Porter
Sydney swelters: Crowds began to gather early at Cronulla's beaches on Sunday. Picture: Merryn Porter

St George and Sutherland Shire sweltered through the weekend's heatwave, with a top temperature of more than 41 degrees recorded at Sydney Airport, before a welcome cool change brought relief late yesterday afternoon.

NSW Bureau of Meteorology's weather observations showed Sydney Airport recorded a top temperature of 41.1 degrees at 2pm on Sunday, while at Lucas Heights a top of 38.3 degrees was recorded at the same time.

Weekend recordings for Kurnell are not currently available on the NSW Bureau of Meteorology website.

After what was a sleepless Saturday night for many caused by high overnight temperatures, residents awoke on Sunday to a hot, sticky day.

NSW Bureau of Meteorology's weather observations showed it was 32 degrees at Sydney Airport at 10.30pm on Saturday. After dropping down to 23.4 degrees at 11.30pm, the mercury soon started to rise again in the early hours of Sunday, and by 6.30am, it was 31.8 degrees.

There were similar overnight temperatures at Lucas Heights, where it was 33 degrees at 9pm Saturday, before dropping down to 26.2 at midnight, then steadily rising to 30.4 degrees by 9am.

As the mercury continued to rise on Sunday, residents and visitors flocked to Cronulla's beaches as well as bays and rivers in St George and Sutherland Shire in a bid to stay cool, while public pools were also popular.

By 10.15am, Sutherland Leisure Centre had reached capacity.

It was a long hot day for the region, before a cool change finally made its way through about 5pm yesterday.

According to the bureau, the temperature at Sydney Airport dropped from 35 degrees to 26 degrees in just 20 minutes.

It was welcome relief for everyone, including NSW Rural Fire Service authorities, who had been on high alert across the weekend and Sunday in particular, when a total fire ban was in place.

Sutherland Shire mayor Steve Simpson praised local residents and visitors who enjoyed beaches and recreational facilities in a "COVID-Safe manner".

"I'd like to thank everyone who was mindful of the COVID-Safe measures in place over the weekend, and all those who were respectful of the advice of our hardworking council lifeguards and leisure centre staff and volunteers," councillor Simpson said.

"Thanks must also go to the staff and volunteers who kept our beaches and leisure centres safe throughout the weekend - I know their continued efforts to keep these much loved public spaces and facilities safe and accessible are highly valued by our community.

"While Sutherland and Engadine leisure centres did reach capacity on Saturday, and again at Sutherland Leisure Centre on Sunday, we were able to reopen facilities as soon as possible to allow for recreational swimming and play to be enjoyed by many."

Thankfully, today is much cooler, with a top of 24 degrees predicted for Sydney before it warms up again tomorrow, when a high of 29 degrees is predicted.

Tops of 24 degrees are predicted for Wednesday and Thursday.