Forecasters say a once in a lifetime heat blast is set to hit Australia this week in a blistering heatwave that could break a 125-year record, with temperatures expected to soar past 100 degrees.
Mail Online reports: “Melbourne will experience two days of early summer as it begins to heat up on Wednesday, before hitting one of its hottest November days ever with temperatures forecast to reach 39C on Thursday (102.2F).
“The heat will continue overnight, with temperatures staying in the high 20s to low 30s on Wednesday evening.”
According to the report, the last time it reached 39C in Melbourne was in 2012.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the all time record for November is just over 40C.
“Total fire bans are in place for much of the country as dry weather and soaring heat spark fresh bushfire fears,” the report added.
“Sweltering temperatures in Queensland, combined with the 70 fires already burning across the state, are set to leave firefighters on edge.
“This sudden heat will be especially tough in the northern part of Victoria, where northerly winds will leave temperatures well over 40C both on Wednesday and Thursday.
“The sweltering temperatures will only increase the fire danger, as more than 70 fires are still burning across the state.
“Firefighters are facing weeks of testing conditions, with no forecast of significant rain until January.”
Several homes have been destroyed by recent fires and figures are expected to rise, as residents deal with water restrictions while work continues “to restore power to pumps at the city’s main reservoir after it was cut by fire”.
“South Australia is also facing horrific fire conditions, with the danger level raised to ‘catastrophic’ across most of the state.
“The hot temperatures will be accompanied by strong winds and possible dust haze.
“Seven districts have been labelled catastrophic fire danger zones – including the Mount Lofty Ranges and Mid North near Adelaide – while two were rated ‘extreme’ and six ‘severe’.”
Emergency services remain on high alert in several areas. Residents were advised “to take simple steps for health protection during the hot weather”.
“The hot temperatures will be accompanied by strong winds and possible dust haze, increasing the fire danger.
“Canberra is facing an unusually hot spring, with the temperature not expected to drop below 30C until Sunday, and a high of 39C forecast for Thursday.
“The Australian Capital Territory will face a ‘very high’ fire danger for the entire week. Darwin will also swelter under 35 degree heat, with expected storms to bring little relief.
“Sydney is expected to escape Wednesday’s heatwave, after suffering through an oppressive Tuesday where temperatures came close to 40C in the city’s west, with air quality among the worst in the world due to a blanket of bushfire smoke.
“On Wednesday, the city will experience a more pleasant 25C, with some rain possible over the weekend.”
Catastrophic fire warnings have been posted throughout the country with levels “hitting severe and very high” in many areas.