Extreme heat swelters southern Australia

Sydney has endured its hottest temperature in nearly 80 years, according to Australian meteorologists. CNN's Derek Van Dam has the details.

Posted: Jan 8, 2018 2:50 PM
Updated: Jan 8, 2018 2:50 PM

Sydney endured its hottest temperature in nearly 80 years on Sunday, Australian meteorologists say.

The mercury rose to 47.3 degrees Celsius, or 117.14 Fahrenheit, in the Sydney metropolitan area.

The hottest temperature ever recorded in the area was 47.8 Celsius degrees (118.04 Fahrenheit) in 1939, the Bureau of Meteorology for the state of New South Wales (NSW) said.

The agency had predicted that temperatures would soar, tweeting: "Are we forecasting all time record high temperatures today? No, but it would not surprise if some stations go close."

So, while brutally cold temperatures hit the US, emergency services in Sydney prepared residents on the other side of the equator for dangers of a different sort.

Temperatures cooled slightly on Monday with showers forecast to provide some relief.

In the western Sydney suburb of Penrith, where the high of 47.3 degrees Celsius was recorded Sunday, the maximum forecast slipped to 42 degrees Celsius (107.6 Fahrenheit).

At Sydney Cricket Ground, the Ashes Test Series came to an end with a win for the Australians against the English, amid temperatures in the early 30s (early 90s).

England captain Joe Root came on late to bat after seeking hospital treatment Sunday for severe dehydration after picking up a stomach bug.

Spectators in the stands had been warned to protect themselves against the sun, and to "#slipslopslapseekslide."

The hashtag refers to an old sun safety campaign -- "Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat." The "seek" refers to shade and "slide" to to wearing sunglasses.

Police advised Sydneysiders to beat the heat by staying well-hydrated and out of the sun. They warned tourists to take extra care if swimming and issued a reminder that it was an offense to leave children or pets unattended in a vehicles -- actions that could be deadly in the heat.

New South Wales Ambulance tweeted that its staffers were also on alert at beaches in the harborside city amid the rising temperatures.

A total fire ban was put in place for the greater Sydney area and neighboring Hunter Region Sunday due to the hot and windy conditions expected. The NSW Rural Fire Service said the fire danger rating in both areas was "severe."

Australians have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world with approximately two out of three likely to be diagnosed with the disease by the time they are 70, according to the Cancer Council Australia.

Tennis players fine-tuning their skills at the Sydney International ahead of the Australian Open also had to battle through the heat on the first day of the tournament.

Organizers tweeted that a big fan was in place to cool spectators down.

Social media was awash with depictions of the heat, GIFs showed burning skeletons and there were a variety of attempts at egg-frying outside.

There's some relief in sight however, with temperatures predicted to be slightly "colder" Monday -- a maximum of 33 degrees Celsius or 91.4 degrees Fahrenheit for those hunkering down in the cold further north.

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