Weather Warning: Australia on Verge of Fires as Britons Battle Arctic Temperatures

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By Dominic Gover | December 4, 2012 1:10 AM EST

Here for the weather: Polar bear at Highland Wildlife Park in Kincraig, Scotland

As Britain shivers in sub-zero temperatures, forecasters on the other side of the world are predicting record temperatures for Australia.

Snow has already brought chaos to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Teeside, and overnight temperatures are expected to plunge to -4, glazing long stretches of road in a deadly coalescence of ice and sleet.

However, in the Australian city of Brisbane, locals are fretting about a very different problem, as a summer heatwave raises the prospect of fires.

Temperatures in Brisbane are forecast to reach 39 degrees tomorrow, and the needle is creeping ever closer to the all-time record high of 41.2 degrees.

Antipodean weather expert Michelle Berry summed up what residents are facing, saying: "We're looking at gusty winds, very dry conditions and very hot temperatures. This is the kind of temperature that is well and truly above average. We're looking at an increasing fire danger."

Artificial beach on South Bank in Brisbane

There is forecast to be a whopping 36 degree difference between temperatures in Australia and the UK this week.

Councils have stockpiled 1.3m tons of road salt to help stop vehicles sliding off the road. A fleet of gritters was put on standby, after previous icy winters overwhelmed response crews and provoked an angry outcry.

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