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On the heels of the surge of heat last week, temperatures are once again set to soar across southeastern Australia into the middle of the week.
Heat will be pumped from the interior to the coasts of New South Wales and Victoria as a ridge of high pressure builds overhead.
Temperatures are set to soar 10-15 degrees Celsius (15-25 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.
More typical mid-December highs average near 24 C (75 F) in the other three cities.
The heat will last into Tuesday for Melbourne. Canberra will have a very warm start to the day on Wednesday before cooler air sends temperatures falling during the afternoon.
Sydney and surrounding areas will have to endure the intense heat through Wednesday.
Residents are urged to drink plenty of water, wear light-colored clothing and avoid strenuous activities during the midday and afternoon hours (the hottest times of the day) to protect themselves against heat-related illnesses.
Energy costs are expected to increase as air conditioners and fans are cranked up. Residents can also head to shopping centers or basements to keep cool.
"Overnight lows will end up above the normal highs for this time of year in some locations," AccuWeather Meteorologist Rathbun said.
The lack of relief at night may make sleeping uncomfortable for residents without air conditioning.
Gusty winds will offer only limited relief from the intense heat.
The combination of the gusty winds, heat and low humidity will increase the fire danger across the interior.
"A cold front will erase the heat and decrease the wildfire threat for the second half of the week and bring with it a chance for showers and thunderstorms," Rathbun said.
Widespread severe weather is not expected, but a few thunderstorms may produce damaging wind gusts.
This round of heat comes after southeastern Australia endured another hot spell last Wednesday and Thursday.
Outside of Sydney, Penrith set a December record high on Thursday when temperatures soared to 43.5 C (110.3 F). The previous record was 42.3 C (108.1 F) from 17 December 2009. Downtown Sydney recorded a high of 30.8 C (87.4 F) with a high of 36.1 C (97.0 F) at the airport.
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