In pics: Temperatures soar to near 50 as heatwave hits southeast Australia

Updated: Jan 17, 2019, 11:28 PM(IST)

Australian towns were among the hottest places on Earth this week, if not the hottest. And forecasters warned of more record-breaking temperatures before the weekend.

Australian towns became the hottest places

The past four days were among the country's top 10 warmest on record, with temperatures nearing 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in some spots, the Bureau of Meteorology said Wednesday.


Breaking the records

"With South Australia breaking some all-time records yesterday, it would certainly put this region as one of the warmest parts of the world yesterday, if not the warmest," the bureau's senior meteorologist Philip Perkins told AFP.

"The places that broke records yesterday are already warmer at this time today as they were yesterday."


Consequence of climate change

High temperatures are not unusual in Australia during its arid southern hemisphere summer, with bushfires a common occurrence.

But climate change has pushed up land and sea temperatures and led to more extremely hot days and severe fire seasons.

Among the towns in South Australia state experiencing their hottest temperatures on record Tuesday was tiny Tarcoola in the region's far north, which reached 49 degrees Celsius.


Same as a 'Black Saturday'

The city of Port Augusta recorded a temperature of 48.9 degrees Celsius, almost one degree higher than its previous record set on February 7, 2009 -- the same day Victoria state endured the devastating "Black Saturday" bushfires that left 173 dead in the nation's worst natural disaster.

Overnight temperatures were also set to remain high, before a rapid change to cooler conditions from late Thursday when a cold front currently over the Southern Ocean sweeps across southern Australia, Perkins said.


Underground residents also suffer

The desert town of Coober Pedy—where some residents live underground to escape the harsh conditions — equalled its temperature record of 47.4 degrees Celsius.

In the state's capital Adelaide, where cycling's Tour Down Under and the cricket One Day International between Australia and India were being held, athletes sweltered through a maximum temperature of 41.9 degree Celsius.


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