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    Australia Heat Aims for Sydney

    January 07, 2013, 3:29:51 AM EST

    Temperatures Tuesday will soar across Australia's greatest city as a blast of windswept heat blows in from the Outback.

    An intense heat wave has, since the first of the year, already broken high temperature records in at least four of Australia's seven states, with readings topping 48 degrees C (up to degrees 119 F) in some spots.

    Hundreds of bushfires have devastated homes and woodlands.

    Fire fighting authorities of New South Wales, faced with forecast highs to at least 44 degrees C (111 degrees F), gusty winds and high fuel loads, have posted extreme to catastrophic fire danger warnings for not only great Sydney, but for much of the state and the Australian Capital Territory, the Australian ABC News website said on Monday.

    Residents were being urged to be ready for the heat as well as the danger of fast-moving bushfire. A state-wide fire ban was in place.

    "Tomorrow will be perhaps the worst fire danger day the state has ever faced," New South Wales state premier Barry O'Farrell said.

    Sydneysiders were warned that their city would not be spared the heat, as it had been heretofore this January.

    "If Sydney reaches 43 tomorrow, it will only be the third time in the history of record keeping that the temperature in Sydney has been that high," O'Farrell said.

    The highest temperature ever recorded in more than 150 years of weather history in Sydney is 45.3 degrees C (113.5 degrees F), the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) website showed. For the airport, the historical top is 45.2 degrees C.

    In New South Wales, more than 90 wildfires were burning as of Monday, with about 20 of them were "not under control," ABC said.

    The massive heat wave began during the last week of December in western Australia. After New Year's Day, the heat broke out towards the south and east, climaxing with record highs from Adelaide to Hobart, Tasmania, on Friday, Jan. 4.


    Aftermath of wildfire in properties near Boomer Bay, Tasmania, Australia, after blazes were sparked by record heat of Jan. 4, 2013. Photo taken Jan. 5. (AP Photo/Chris Kidd)

    Scores of bushfires kindled last Friday, worst of which burned at least 100 properties in Tasmania, according to ABC.

    Hobart's high temperature of 41.8 degrees C (107.2 F) was the city's highest in 110 years of weather records, climate data from the BoM website indicated.


    Map of Friday, Jan. 4, high temperatures in Australia. One this day, record highs were set in the states of South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania. Highest temperature area shows readings of at least 45 degrees C, or 113 degrees F. Scores of bushfires, some severe, were kindled in this heat.

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