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Australia braces for record breaking heat tsunami

English.news.cn   2014-01-13 11:24:59            

By Christian Edwards

SYDNEY, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Just a week after declaring 2013 as Australia's hottest ever, officials here are warning this sunburnt nation to brace for worse, with a tsunami of heat expected to wash over almost all parts of Australia by Wednesday, leaving further devastation in its wake.

Bushfires, red alerts, emergency patient monitoring and even mass animal deaths have been recorded as the heatwave inches eastwards, swallowing all national heat records and the towns that held them.

According to Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster Peter Zmijewski, extreme heatwave conditions are forging through the baking Nullabor Plains and spreading with malignant patience towards south-east Australia, with little or no relief in sight for inland areas already baked to a crisp after a year of record temperatures.

In its closely watched Annual Climate Statement, released last week, the BOM declared Australia's 2013 average temperatures were 1.2 degrees (Celsius) above the historic average of 21.8C, breaking all records.

All Aussie states recorded above average temperatures in 2013, with Western Australia, Northern Territory and South Australia all smashing annual temperature records.

The country recorded its hottest day on Jan. 7 - a month which also saw the hottest week and hottest month since records began in 1910.

BOM forecaster Zmijewski said that the eastern seaboard will need to prepare for the coming days.

In a special climate statement bureau said the latest heatwave, while 'less extensive and prolonged' than the new mark hit by 2013, was still singularly remarkable.

A nation surrounded by water, Australia is dry and extremely arid across massive distances in its 'red-heart.'

The heatwave began on Dec. 27 in eastern Western Australia and spread slowly north and east, setting records at 34 sites where data has been collected for 44 years.

This year, scorching heat has been festering in Australia's red center since December and is driving a veritable tsunami of heat across inland Australia towards the highly populated eastern coasts.

The pain is being felt from Perth to Sydney, Queensland in the north all the way to South Australia and even Tasmania.

Already Queensland has baked through sizzling nights with the statewide mean temperature on January 3 shattering the previous record by "an extraordinary 0.75 degrees", the BOM said in a statement last week.

More than 10 percent of Queensland and almost 15 percent of NSW recorded their hottest day on record.

While Roma in southern Queensland broke its record high on three separate days within a one week period.

Reports of hundreds of thousands of bats simply dropping from the skies have been confirmed by sources at the Queensland RSPCA, with spokesman Michael Beatty telling reporters that mass deaths have been recorded at up to 25 separate colonies.

"The heatwave was basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in south-east Queensland," Beatty said.

South Australia and its isolated Capital Adelaide is preparing for the worst. State Premier Jay Weatherill has urged people families to consider their best bushfire action plans while nurses will across the state are monitoring the vulnerable in the face of 43C forecasts later in the week.

State Emergency Service (SES) have issued a rare extreme heat warning with weather conditions a risk to public safety.

Even the nation's capital Canberra is on red alert with the BOM forecasting highs of 39 degrees into the week.

On Tuesday, the anticipated sell-out crowd for the all- important cricket match featuring the Prime Minister's XI will likely go ahead in a furious 37-degree oven.

The slow-moving pall of heat is smashing temperature records everywhere and has been described by officials in the BOM as a " highly significant" event, even in the face of the announcement that 2013 was Australia's cruelest in more than a century of heat records.

The news is salt in open wounds WA and its capital Perth, fighting outbreaks of fire as temperatures are forecast to hit 50 degrees on Thursday .

Perth has just endured its hottest night on record, and total fire bans are in place across the state.

Temperatures in Perth peaked at more than 43 degrees on Saturday as firefighters from Boddington, southeast of Perth, were fighting a fire north of the city.

A total of 150 firefighters are still battling the blaze in the Perth hills that's destroyed almost 30 homes and resulted in at least one death.

The Australian Open tennis in Melbourne beginning Monday morning will see players earn their money, with temperatures likely to stroke 41 degrees on Tuesday, and continue in the same vein all week.

The soaring temperatures have drawn warnings from hospitals around the country with the Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Richard Choong urging those vulnerable to watch their core temperatures throughout the event.

"We don't realize how hot it is... the reality is it is a lot hotter than what we have experienced so far, so we need to take better precaution," he said.

Editor: Shen Qing
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