'Extreme heat' to hit Australia's south-east
Australia's south-east region is slated to face "extreme heatwave" conditions, which is said to also elevate the already heightened fire risks, the weather department said.
The "very hot pool of air" that built up over Australia last week, smashing records for the nation's hottest ever days, has merely re-circulated, creating "two separate rounds of extreme heat", The Sydney Morning Herald reported citing Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, as saying on Wednesday.
"There's certainly the potential for further days to reach maximums above 40 degrees in the next week," Trewin said.
On December 17, Australia averaged 40.9 degrees, beating a January 7, 2013 record of 40.3 degrees.
The next day, the bar was raised a full degree higher, at 41.9 degrees, stunning climate scientists by the size of the margin.
At least six days have topped 40 degrees on average during the current hot spell.
Meanwhile, a new analysis has shown that more than 300,000 residents of greater Sydney were exposed to high risk of bushfires, prompting warnings that more pre-emptive action was needed to curb growing threats posed by natural disasters, said The Sydney Morning Herald.
The analysis from consultancy SGS Economics and Planning shows millions of residents across the states of New South Wales (NSW), Victoria and Queensland were living with risk from floods, storms, bushfires and earthquakes.
Across Sydney and the surrounding area, there were 318,000 residents in council areas facing high bushfire risks, mostly in the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and Gosford areas.
Another 488,000 are in medium-risk areas, including Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai in the north, and fast-growing Wollondilly on the city's south-western outskirts.
A spate of bushfires in November and December have ripped through the Blue Mountains, NSW north coast, NSW south coast and bushland south-west of Sydney.
A week-long state of emergency was declared in NSW on December 19, as hundreds of homes were destroyed, temperatures soared past 40 degrees and air quality plummeted to hazardous levels in many parts of the state.IANS