Australia Weather News

Residents in the Kimberley have been hammered by hail and heat as the wet season settles in the tropical north.

Hail the size of 20 cent coins surprised residents in the small outback town of Wyndham early this week — a phenomenon the town hasn't observed for decades.

Douglas Powers said the temperature dropped nearly 20 degrees Celsius during the storm.

"I looked at the temperature gauge and it was 40 degrees, 20 minutes later we drove into town and it was black and dark," he said.

"Next minute the hail started to hit us and we had to pull into someone else's carport."

"I took a photo of the same temperature gauge and it was 24 degrees."

Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Austen Watkins said hail was uncommon in northern Australia.

"But at the same time because it's so sparsely populated, we don't know if it occurs more than what we actually observe," he said.

Hot and stormy cocktail

As storms periodically belt the region at this time of year, an extreme heatwave will see temperature soar past 40 degrees Celsius — with Fitzroy Crossing to peak at 47C.

Although temperatures in the 40s are normal for the Kimberley, consistently high temperatures have triggered a warning from the WA Country Health Service for residents to limit their time outdoors.

Dylan Storer from Fitzroy Crossing said it was so hot the water from the cold-water tap was warm.

"Forget putting in hot-water systems for Fitzroy Crossing, we need cold-water systems," he said.

"People are just travelling down to the pool, creek and cranking the air-con."

The high temperatures are part of a heatwave stretching across northern WA, to Adelaide and Melbourne.

Mr Watkins said it was caused by the high pressure system over the south east of the continent.

"That has been building dry and hot air in the north of Australia," he said.

He said Kimberley residents should expect these temperatures into next week.