A Western Sydney suburb has been recorded as the hottest place on earth today and smashed an 80-year-long record at the same time.
Penrith residents sweltered as the temperature soared to 48.9C, while the mercury in Canberra hit 44C this afternoon.
Both suburbs broke records that have stood for 80 years as the hottest temperatures ever recorded.
#Penrith reached a record 48.9°C (120°F) today, the hottest place on the planet. For those overseas, Penrith is not in the arid Outback; it's a city of 200,000 only 55 km west of Sydney.— Earthquack (@Triton214) January 4, 2020
This on a day of catastrophic bushfire conditions in parts of the country. #ClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/W6ByNqXNba
Penrith set a new record for the hottest temperature in the Sydney basin, beating the previous mark of 47.8C recorded in Richmond in 1939.
The previous Canberra record was 42.8C at the now-closed Acton observation site in 1939.
Australia the hottest country on earth
As well as Penrith and Canberra breaking records, the top ten hottest cities in the world today were also located in Australia.
According to World Weather Today, the second hottest suburbs in the world on Saturday were Birdsville in Queensland and Nerrandera in southern NSW as they both reached 46.8C.
Airports at Badgery’s Creek, Bankstown and Moomba all recorded temperatures of 46.7C.
In comparison, cities well known for heat were much cooler than the temperatures of Australia’s hottest suburbs today, with Thailand capital Bangkok recording 33C and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia reaching 32C.
The hottest temperature ever recorded was in Death Valley, California – just 7C higher than Penrith on Saturday.
Thunderstorms and more heat to come
Bureau of Meteorology acting NSW manager Jane Golding said hot and dry northwesterly winds had increased over southeastern NSW on Saturday, before a gusty southerly change started moving up the coast. It's expected to reach Sydney by midnight.
"We've seen many sites in western Sydney above 45C and places quite close to the city above 40C," Ms Golding said.
Fire plumes across southeastern NSW have reasonable potential to induce thunderstorm activity. A Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Damaging Winds is current, see: https://t.co/xcnrftzCgv #NSWfires pic.twitter.com/8SZDoUzQD7— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) January 4, 2020
She warned there was a heightened risk of undesirable storm activity with a severe thunderstorm warning issued for parts of NSW.
"We are seeing a very unstable atmosphere and there is a heightened risk of storm activity particularly over the far south of the state and the coastal strip up towards Sydney," she said.
"Any storms that develop today, unfortunately, we're not expecting them to bring rain but they would bring those gusty winds and that erratic wind behaviour that's particularly concerning near fire grounds."
Do you have a story tip? Email: email@example.com.