Jim Andrews

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Australia Heat Bakes Melbourne, Adelaide; Sydney Is Next

January 17, 2013; 10:08 AM ET

A blast of searing heat swept over southern Australia Thursday, bringing outback heat into two of the nation's biggest cities.

The dry heat, reaching 40 to 43 degrees C (104 to 110 degrees F), kept fire services on edge in the states of Victoria and South Australia, both of which reported wildfires burning on Thursday.

In neighboring New South Wales, Sydney residents awaited their turn at dealing with extreme heat, as highs near 40 degrees were forecast for Friday.

An emergency warning was posted briefly for an area on the outskirts of Melbourne, where a bushfire and a grass fire burned on Thursday, the Australian website said.

Another fire was out of control in Baw Baw National Park.

In South Australia, a bushfire burning north of Adelaide blackened 2,300 hectares (5,700 acres) of bushland.

The Melbourne area of Victoria registered highs of 40.8 degrees C (105 F) in the city and 41.3 degrees C (106 F) at the main airport.

Highs to 45 degrees C (113 F) were reached in Victoria's far north.

These readings were only marginally below seasonal highs reached on Jan. 4 and at least 15 degrees C (27 degrees F) above normal for the date.

In South Australia, the city of Adelaide registered a high of 43.1 degrees C (110 F), whereas the airport topped at 41.6 degrees C (107 F).

The Adelaide area suffered near-record heat to about 45 degrees C on Jan. 4.

While cooling aimed for both Adelaide and Melbourne, Friday promised to deliver sizzling heat to Sydney.

Sydneysiders were facing highs near 40 degrees C (104 degrees F), forecasters, including AccuWeather.com meteorologists, said.

Severe to extreme fire danger was forecast for much the state of New South Wales, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) website said. Fire bans were also in effect.


The shade of the grand stand affords shelter from the Melbourne heat on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. Tennis play at the Australian Open was subject to temperatures reaching at least 41 degrees C (106 F). (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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