Intense Heat Wave Covers South Australia, Queensland; Temperatures Rise at Start of 2014

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By Reissa Su | January 2, 2014 6:38 PM EST

Some parts of Australia welcome the New Year in sweltering heat as South Australia and Queensland experience scorching temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

REUTERS / SEVEN NETWORK
Firefighters from New South Wales' Rural Fire Service (RFS) arrive to put out a fire at a property in Lithgow, New South Wales, in this still frame taken from a October 17, 2013 video provided by Seven Network Australia.

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The heat wave is expected to continue in the coming days as authorities issue total fire bans in the northern areas of South Australia. The Bureau forecasted the town of Moomba to have a temperature of 49C on Dec. 2 while Oodnadatta will experience 48C.

South Australia's Country Fire Service has warned of "catastrophic" conditions with winds from the previous cyclone Christine aggravating current weather conditions.

Towns in Queensland will also have to deal with higher temperatures above 40C. Birdsvill will have the highest temperature at 48C. According to historical data from Weatherzone, Roma has reached 44C, its hottest day since records began in 1870.

The latest weather reports indicate that Northern Territory has been caught up in the heat wave with temperatures to reach 43C in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.

No total fire bans were issued in NSW, Queensland and Victoria. The weather bureau said temperatures in capital cities like Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne to be relatively mild. The agency is expected to declare on Jan. 3 that the past year has been the hottest year in Australia with average temperatures 1C higher than the long-term average.

Expect longer heat waves, more bushfires

The Climate Council's chief Tim Flannery has previously reported that although bushfires in Australia are nothing new, there was a growing possibility that more will happen in the future. Mr Flannery declared climate change will increase the risk of frequent bushfires.

Many people have lost their lives to raging bushfires going on for days. Property and infrastructure have been damaged because of bushfires. According to the Climate Council's report, people need to understand the risks of climate change to prepare for the future.

The report also revealed that southeast and southwest of Australia is getting hotter because of climate change. The Climate Council report also predicted sustained and frequent heat waves lasting through March and October in the coming years.

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(Photo: REUTERS / SEVEN NETWORK / )
Firefighters from New South Wales' Rural Fire Service (RFS) arrive to put out a fire at a property in Lithgow, New South Wales, in this still frame taken from a October 17, 2013 video provided by Seven Network Australia.
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