Australia is baking amid record-breaking heatwave with temperatures soaring as high as 120F in some towns
Town of Noona, in New South Wales, saw an overnight minimum temperature of 96.6F – an Australian record
Central Sydney saw fifth consecutive day above 86F for first time in eight years, while Canberra also baked
Roads melted and animals dropped dead as fire crews fought more than 60 blazes across New South Wales
By CHRIS PLEASANCE
18 January 2019
Australia is battling through its ‘most significant’ heatwave for 80 years that has seen temperatures soar above 104F (40C) for six consecutive days across the country.
Roads melted, animals dropped dead and fires raged as temperature records tumbled across New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
Hundreds of Australians have flocked to Bondi Beach in Sydney to cool off from the extreme summer temperatures.
The latest mind-boggling figure was reported in the town of Noona, in New South Wales, which reported an overnight minimum temperature of 96.6F (35.9C) on Thursday – a new record for the whole of Australia.
At least five of the country’s ten warmest days on record have come in the last week, with Friday – the day the mercury peaked – yet to be counted.
The hottest day on record for the country came on January 7, 2013, when the national average maximum temperature was 104.5F (40.3C).
It remains to be seen whether the current heatwave will top that.
On Wednesday alone, New South Wales broke 14 all-time heat records and eight January records, including in the town of Griffith which suffered through 114F (46.4C) heat.
Menindee, in the far west of the state, was due to hit 113F (45C) on Friday having broken its all-time record with a temperature of 118F (47.8C) earlier in the week. It hasn’t seen a daytime high below 113F since Monday.
Broken Hill airport, Whitecliff, Wilcannia, and Albury all saw their hottest days since records began on Wednesday.
Meanwhile Marble Bar, in Western Australia, recorded the highest temperature of the last seven days with a blistering 120F (49.1C) on Sunday, marking a January record. Tarcoola, in South Australia, also hit 119F (49C).
Simon Grainger, Bureau of Meteorology climatologist, told CNN: ‘Based on the extent and duration, this is the most significant heatwave to have affected inland eastern Australia since January 1939.’
State governments and the Bureau of Meteorology have issued dozens of warnings, telling drivers to allow extra time for journeys as cars are more likely to break down in extreme condition.
The Fire Service in New South Wales said its crews were battling more than 60 fires with 13 fire bans in place across the state.