Total fire ban imposed as temperatures surpass 40 degrees in dry, windy conditions
Parts of Australia, including Sydney, sweltered through the hottest November night on record, with temperatures likely to stay high on Sunday, prompting authorities to issue a total fire ban.
Sydney Central Business District surpassed 40 degrees on Saturday while swathes of western New South Wales, South Australia and northern Victoria baked through even higher temperatures nearing 45 degrees.
Temperatures are expected to cross 40 degrees for a second straight day on Sunday while the Bureau of Meteorology has predicted a five- or six-day heatwave for parts of northern New South Wales and southeast Queensland.
The predictions for soaring temperatures prompted the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to say demand for electricity may exceed supply in New South Wales on Sunday afternoon.
Australia has been experiencing hotter and longer summers, with last season dubbed “Black Summer” by prime minister Scott Morrison due to unusually prolonged and intense bushfires that burned nearly 12 million hectares and killed 33 people and an estimated one billion animals.
The Rural Fire Service issued a total fire ban for most of eastern and northeastern New South Wales for Sunday, saying there was a “very high to severe fire danger forecast” as hot, gusty winds exacerbate dry conditions.