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Heatwave sees cities and regions approach record temperatures
Temperatures are soaring above 40 degrees Celsius across Australia as extreme weather hits parts of South Australia, Western Australia, NSW, Victoria, the Northern Territory and the ACT.
Readings reached a record 49.3C in Marble Bar in Western Australia's Pilbara region shortly after noon - the hottest day in the town since temperature records began in 1901.
In South Australia's mid north region, Port Augusta and Whyalla each hit 46.8C.
Alice Springs reached 44C, Adelaide hit 43.7C and Canberra, which was forecast to hit 37C, reached 36C.
South Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Bonnie Haselgrove said that in the north-east corner of the state, forecast maximums were expected to remain in the 40s for the next week.
Haselgrove told the ABC "so there is heatwave conditions going in that part of the state.
"They extend right through northern Victoria and into New South Wales.
"Heat and the winds has led to those conditions."
An extreme fire danger warning has been issued for the Mount Lofty Ranges and a severe warning has been declared in nine other districts.
Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory is heading towards its 28th day above 40C this December.
In Sydney, where a top of 32.4C was recorded at Sydney's Olympic Park, crowds flocked to Bondi Beach to escape the heat.
Bondi Beach lifeguard Bruce Hopkins said the conditions were comfortable with the cool sea breeze was a big attraction, telling the ABC "we've got a nice north-easterly breeze blowing and it's a bit cooler than what it would be out west."
There are fears that the consistent high temperatures will have a devastating effect on plant and animal life, with bushfires being a major threat in areas that are dry and hot.
In addition, the heat is also impacting many animals with mass die-offs of colonies of bats and birds a result.
Images: A temperature of 50.5 degrees Celsius was recorded in Coober Pedy, South Australia today (top, courtesy of Opal Miners' Enterprises) and Bondi Beach lifeguard Bruce Hopkins (below, courtesy of Bruce Hopkins).
26th December 2018 - More than 50 Australian plant species face extinction within 10 years
9th February 2018 - Climate change threatening Australian tourism
10th February 2017 - Australia Zoo’s animals beat the heat
12th January 2017 - Blacktown aquatic centres help western Sydney residents beat the heat
6th January 2017 - Bondi Rescue educates the world about beach safety
19th November 2016 - Central Melbourne’s trees need to adapt to climate change
4th November 2016 - Addressing climate change a must for sustainable tourism programs
27th June 2016 - Climate change a massive threat to global heritage and tourism
1st February 2015 - Report suggests elite and grassroots sport at risk from climate change
30th November 2014 - Professional Lifeguards advocate safety first at Australian beaches
16th January 2014 - Climate Council: Australian heatwaves more frequent, hotter and longer
11th January 2014 - West Australian heatwave closes national parks
9th January 2013 - Animals beat the heat at Australian Reptile Park
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