The Australian prime minister warns of more extreme weather to come.
Blair Trewin, a senior climatologist with the National Climate Centre at the Australian Bureau of Meterology, says this heat wave covers a bigger area than did the deadly 2009 heat wave, which coincided with the "Black Saturday" bushfires in Victoria that killed 173 and destroyed over 3,500 structures. Last week, he said, 80 percent of the country recorded temperatures above normal for this time of year. The state of New South Wales is now facing its worst fire danger ever, according to state leaders. They are blanketing cellphones with warnings to get ready for the worst.
Sydney—Australia's most populated city—is now waking up to what may be its hottest day on record in 150 years, up to 110 degrees, creating conditions that the premier of that state, Barry O'Farrell, said could be "the worst fire danger day this state has ever faced." The threat is being met with "catastrophic" fire warnings that fires have the potential to cause significant loss of life and destroy many homes. Residents are being told to leave early from high-risk areas.