Australia could face the hottest day in its history next week, with forecasters warning temperatures could surpass the current record of 50.7C.
Perth, on the west coast of the country, is in the grips of a heatwave with temperatures reaching around 40C, however this heat is expected to spread across the country next week.
Nearly the entire continent of Australia will be 100°F or hotter next week. Hottest of 121°F:thermometer: forecast by some models next Thursday in South Australia. :fire: pic.twitter.com/CoOG4hcHsm
- Ryan Maue (@RyanMaue) December 12, 2019
Fire warnings have been issued for parts of Western Australia and Queensland and it is feared that soaring temperatures could pose a threat to both people and animals.
Diana Eadie, meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), said it is possible that temperatures could exceed the record set on 2 January 1960 in the outback town of Oodnadatta in South Australia. She also said it was likely the country's highest overall average maximum record would be broken.
Speaking to ABC, she said: "It is not out of the realms of possibility that we could break our highest ever recorded temperature.
"We're expecting some incredibly warm conditions as we head into next week, potentially record-breaking for a number of areas across southern Australia over the next seven days or so.
"So when you combine all of the maximum temperatures recorded on any given day, the hottest on record was on 7 January back in 2013, when we saw an average maximum of 40.3C.
"At this stage with these sorts of temperatures that we're forecasting... it looks like we could break that record over a number of consecutive days towards the end of next week.
"We will potentially see the hottest day on record across all of Australia."
The heatwave is a particular cause for concern given that is December, and there have never been more than two days in the month above 40C - a record that also looks set to be broken in the coming days.
While certain areas will be hotter than others, the whole country will be absolutely roasting.
Ms Eadie said: "[The heat] will creep into South Australia initially, we will start to see those temperatures rise over South Australia on Monday and Tuesday.
"But as we go through the remainder of the week, that will extend a little bit further east and become concentrated over parts of Victoria and New South Wales as well.
"Predominantly the areas that look to be affected are north-western and central parts of Victoria, and then mostly southern and western parts of New South Wales will feel exceptional heat.
"But really all of those states and even extending into southern parts of the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland won't be immune."
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