Australia’s largest city has sweltered through its hottest November night on record.
Sydney‘s overnight low was 25.3C (77.4F), recorded just after 1am on Sunday, smashing a record that had stood since 1967, before it shot up to 30C (86F) by 4.30am.
This followed two consecutive days of temperatures climbing above 40C (104F), which were also record-breaking for November.
A cool change on Sunday, however, saw the mercury plunge later in the day, from 35.6C (96F) at 5pm to 25C (77F) at 5.30pm.
Sydney’s temperatures are expected to stay in the mid-20s early this week, but could be back above 40 by the middle of the week, forecasters have said.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said the weekend also saw 47.5C (117F) in Marree (South Australia), 47.4C (117F) in Roxby Downs (South Australia), and 46.4C (116F) in Birdsville (Queensland).
In New South Wales (NSW), the Rural Fire Service (RFS) issued a total fire ban for most of the east and northeast of the state, saying there was a “very high to severe fire danger”, with hot, gusty winds and dry conditions.
Australia is not new to bushfires – almost every summer, parts of the country are devastated by fire, and last summer saw nearly 12 million hectares burnt, with the deaths of 33 people and an estimated one billion animals.
At one stage on Sunday, NSW RFS was fighting more than 60 bush and grass fires.
Commissioner Rob Rogers told the Sydney Morning Herald that fires were most likely to affect the western part of the state this summer, as four years of drought had given way to rain, and grass fires had become a major concern.
“It’s a very different season,” Mr Rogers said. “These grass fires are quite dangerous. You need to report them as soon as someone has seen a fire.”
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