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Dangerous heat in Sydney, Australia, to persist after 121-year-old record falls

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
February 11, 2017, 8:45:51 AM EST

After a 121-year-old heat record fell on Friday, dangerously hot weather will continue to bake Sydney, Australia, on Saturday.

Saturday became the 11th day this summer to record highs exceeding 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) at Sydney's Observatory Hill (the city’s official weather station) as temperatures soared to 36.0 C (96.7 F).

Never before have so many such days been registered in a summer since record-keeping began in 1859. The old record for the most days was nine, which was originally set during the summer of 1895-96, according to data from the Bureau of Meteorology.

At the Sydney Airport, a new record was set for the hottest February day with a high of 42.9 C (109.2 F) on Friday. The old record was 42.6 C (108.7 F) originally set on 21 February 1980.

For a city where a high of 26.5 C (80 F) is more common in February, this latest blast of heat will continue to put a strain on residents.

Heat Feb 10

High humidity and blazing sunshine will create dangerously higher AccuWeather RealFeel® temperatures.

Residents should use caution amid the heat to avoid suffering from heat exhaustion or heatstroke. Wear light-colored clothing, drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activities during the hottest times of the day.

    Be sure to check in on the elderly, children and pets to ensure they are keeping cool.

    The intense heat will encompass all of New South Wales and neighboring areas. Temperatures will reach or exceed 43 C (110 F) in the far western suburbs of Sydney, such as Richmond, and throughout most of central and western New South Wales.

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    Saturday's heat will combine with locally breezy conditions to elevate the fire danger across the region. That is especially true away from the coast, where daytime relative humidity levels will be extremely low.

    Any wildfires that ignite into Saturday could then be easily fanned by the widespread gusty winds that will get kicked up as a cold front swings through on Sunday, putting lives and property downwind of the blazes in extreme peril.

    The fire danger has prompted the NSW Rural Fire Service to institute a statewide total fire ban for this weekend. Extra aircraft and strike teams have been put on standby to battle any blazes that ignite.

    The agency is warning of catastrophic fire conditions on Sunday from the "the Central West, across the tablelands to the Hunter region and out to the coast."

    Officials have also closed many walking tracks and trails, as well as some parks and camping areas across the Sydney region due to the heat and fire danger, according to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

    Despite the winds, the cold front will be otherwise beneficial by sweeping away the intense heat.

    "The front will bring needed heat relief for Sunday as temperatures lower and humidity falls," AccuWeather Meteorologist Adam Douty said. "This front could also lead to isolated thunderstorms on Sunday across eastern New South Wales."

    Behind the front, temperatures will be returned to more seasonable levels early next week with highs near 24 C (75 F) anticipated in Sydney.

    As cooler air advances from the south, the heat will get suppressed farther north with the peak of the heat wave baking Brisbane on Sunday.

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