'Catastrophic': Hundreds of wildfires rage in Australia amid record heat wave

This aerial photograph taken on January 5, 2013 shows the devastation to property
 between Dunalley and Boomer Bay after bush fires swept through the area. (AFP

A heat wave that has already caused devastating fires on the Island state of Tasmania, with 100 people still missing, has now moved to mainland Australia and is reaping havoc in New South Wales, as the heat wave looks to smash records.
In some areas temperatures have shot up by as much as 20C in three hours and combined with 50 mph winds have created disastrous fire conditions.
Right across Australia records have been broken by the heat wave and the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has been forced to add colors to its forecast charts to take account of temperatures of 50-54 degrees Celsius.
Australia’s all-time record of 50.7 degrees; set in January 1960 at Oodnadatta in South Australia is likely to be smashed over the coming days. On Tuesday, in some places temperatures of 45 degrees Celsius were recorded.
“The scale has just been increased today and I would anticipate it is because the forecast coming from the bureau’s model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees,” David Jones , the BoM’s head of climate monitoring, told Fairfax newspapers.
Australia as a whole experienced its hottest day on record on Monday, with average maximum temperatures across the entire country reaching 40.33 degrees breaking the previous record of 40.17 degrees set in 1972.
More than 130 fires are already blazing away in New South Wales (NSW), where fire officials said conditions were among the worst they had ever seen for wildfires. Fires had already burnt more than 30,000 hectares of land across NSW.

- Rt.com


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