Australia endures its hottest EVER day: Average temperature peaks at 105.6F – and the heatwave is only likely to get WORSE
- Tuesday’s peak easily eclipsed the January 2013 record of 104.5F (40.3C)
- Forecasters say the extreme summer heat will ‘only intensify’ on Wednesday
- The heatwave has added to a bushfire crisis with 170 fires already burning
Australia endured its hottest ever day yesterday, reaching a peak average temperature of 105.6F (40.9C).
Tuesday’s peak eclipsed the previous record of 104.5F (40.3C), which was set in January 2013, but the record may not last long with Australia’s summer heatwave expected to get worse.
‘This heat will only intensify further today,’ said Diana Eadie of the country’s Bureau of Meteorology.
The heatwave has added to dangerous fire conditions with warnings in place for most of the country and more than 170 fires burning in New South Wales and Queensland.
At the beach: People flock to St Kilda beach south of Melbourne yesterday as the country’s average temperature peaked at 105.6F, breaking the all-time record
Sunbathers: Two women lounge in the sun while another stays in the shade at St Kilda beach near Melbourne city centre yesterday on what proved to be Australia’s hottest ever day
Cooling off: Swimmers jump from the Port Noarlunga Jetty in the City of Onkaparinga, south of Adelaide, on Australia’s hottest day yesterday
Scorching: A map showing peak average temperatures on Tuesday, with lighter areas suffering the most extreme heat of up to 113F (45C)
A stifling hot air mass and blistering heatwave conditions scorched central Australia as temperatures soared beyond 113F (45C) in some places on Tuesday.
The Queensland outback town of Birdsville was the hottest place in the country on Tuesday, reaching a peak of 117.9F (47.7C).
Not far behind was Wudinna airport in South Australia which reached 117.1F (47.3C).
The heat is adding to a bushfire crisis which has already killed six people and destroyed hundreds of homes, with some fires raging out of control for weeks on end since the start of the Southern Hemisphere summer.
Hundreds of bushfires have been raging across Australia, including a ‘mega-blaze’ burning north of Sydney.
Smoke from the fires has already engulfed Sydney, raising air pollution to hazardous levels in a crisis which leading doctors have labelled a ‘public health emergency’.
Strengthening winds will create extreme fire dangers in parts of Victoria, New South Wales and Canberra, forecasters say.
Record: The average temperature across the country was 105.6F on Tuesday, well above the previous record of 104.5F set in January 2013. Pictured: Bronte Beach Pool in Sydney
Seaside walk: A woman takes shelter under an umbrella as she walks along a promenade at St Kilda Beach yesterday, with a group of sunbathers lying by the water
Day out: A sunbather wearing a sombrero lies on a towel to read a book at St Kilda beach south of Melbourne on Australia’s hottest day yesterday
Thirsty: A dog cools off under a shower at St Kilda beach as Australia’s summer heatwave sweeps across the state of Victoria yesterday
Dipping in: People are seen swimming at Bronte Beach in Sydney on Wednesday as Australia’ summer heatwave continues
Heatwave: Firefighters tackle a bushfire in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales yesterday on what proved to be Australia’s hottest day on record
Emergency response: Firefighters douse a blaze in Dargan, 80 miles north-west of Sydney today with the extreme heat likely to exacerbate the bushfire crisis
Turbulent winds of up to 60mph are forecast to also hit the east coast and worsen the blazes.
‘Over the next few days we are going to see firefighters, the emergency services and all those communities close to fires… challenged with a new threat,’ New South Wales fire commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said Wednesday.
Embers carried by the winds can travel up to 18.6 miles from a blaze, authorities said.
The National Asthma Council has also warned the extreme heat could affect people’s breathing and trigger symptoms.
Adelaide is facing a four-day blast which is expected to peak at 111F (44C) on Friday while Victoria, New South Wales and Canberra will also suffer extreme heat.
Parts of New South Wales are forecast to reach around 110F (46C) on Thursday.
Some remote areas could even surpass 122F (50C), which has happened only twice since records began and not since 1998.
Water sports: People take to the ocean in sailing dinghies in Adelaide yesterday during the record-breaking hot weather in the Southern Hemisphere summer
Outdoors: People lie on the beach in Glenelg, a suburb of Adelaide, on Wednesday
Ablaze: A firefighter watches a raging fire in Gospers Mountain, New South Wales, with Australia’s summer heatwave expected to get worse
Emergency: A New South Wales firefighter at work in Colo Heights, near where a 200,000-acre fire has been raging in recent days
Orange sky: Dawn breaks over the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, New South Wales, amid extreme temperatures in the country
Sky News meteorologist Rob Sharpe said: ‘If we don’t break 50 degrees next week, it’s quite likely at least one town in Australia will before the end of January’.
Scientists say the blazes have come earlier and with more intensity than usual due to global warming, and a prolonged drought that has left the land tinder dry and many towns running out of water.
The fires have sparked climate protests targeting PM Scott Morrison’s government, which has resisted pressure to address the root causes of global warming.
Morrison last week made a rare admission that climate change was one of the ‘factors’ behind the fires.
But he defended the government´s record on emissions reduction and failed to announce further measures to address the issue.
Climate protesters plan to march on Morrison’s official residence in Sydney this week to rally for change and highlight his absence as large parts of the country burn.
Morrison is holidaying at an undisclosed location overseas, believed to be Hawaii.
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