Severe and extreme heatwaves have claimed more lives than any other natural hazard in Australia.
The bulk of heatwaves at each location are of low intensity, with most people expected to have adequate capacity to cope with this level of heat. Less frequent, higher intensity heatwaves are classified as severe and will be challenging for some more vulnerable people, heatwaves can be dangerous because they post health risks to the most vulnerable people, such as the elderly and very young children.
Extreme heatwaves are a risk for anyone who does not take precautions to keep cool, even those who are healthy. Heatwaves can also affect the transport, agriculture and energy sectors and associated infrastructure.
(About the heatwave service, Bureau of Meteorology; Understanding heatwaves, Bureau of Meteorology)