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Weather tracker: strong wind and heavy rain to continue in Australia

Strong winds are expected to continue to lash Australia this week and, while the peak speeds are not anticipated to be exceptional, the vastness of the area affected will be unusual.

As low pressure moves to the south-east, high pressure is likely to develop across Western Australia before heading eastwards.

Initially a plunge in temperature is expected as southerly winds penetrate northwards into the heart of the Australian landmass, with nighttime temperatures only a couple of degrees above freezing for many.

Heavy rain and mountain snow are expected to affect the south-east. However, on the leading edge of this cold air, easterly winds will strengthen, and it is these that will be most notable.

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The strongest, with gusts exceeding 50mph, swept parts of Western and South Australia late on Monday and into Tuesday local time before moving north.

Overnight on Tuesday and into Wednesday, almost the entire country is forecast to be hit by 35-40mph gusts from the east or south, perhaps peaking close to 50mph across interior areas in the Northern Territory. These speeds may not seem exceptional but with a landmass three-quarters the size of Europe, such broadscale strong winds are unusual.

Strong south-easterly winds are likely to continue into Thursday across the northern half of Australia, easing for a time but with more heavy rain and strong winds expected across the southern half of the country this weekend and early next week.

Meanwhile, in Europe, extreme heat across the eastern Mediterranean is expected to abate later this week, as slightly cooler air filters in from the west. An attendant upper cold pool will allow an area of surface low pressure to develop, triggering severe weather in the form of vigorous thunderstorms across parts of Greece and western Turkey on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Forecast models indicate some areas could experience more than 150mm of rain in just 24 hours, heightening the risk of flooding where storms occur.

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