Crowded Bondi Beach during heat wave in Sydney, NSW, Australia, 07 Jan 2018 (European Pressphoto Agency)
A recent heat wave in Australia was so severe that asphalt melted on some highways, firefighters had to battle wildfires and bats fell out of trees after literally boiling to death.
The daytime high reached a scorching 47.3 C in a western suburb of Sydney on Sunday which was the hottest since 1939 and while Melbourne was cooler, the thermometer still climbed to 40 C.
Beaches were so crowded in Sydney, there was virtually no room to move around.
While it is the height of summer Down Under, the normal January high in the New South Wales capital city is 27 C with an overnight low of 20 C.
Image Courtesy CNN
The North Pole climbs above freezing, deadly tornadoes strike Texas, extreme heat bakes Australia and historic floods hit Britain and the American Midwest – the world is filled with extreme weather as it welcomes 2016.
A powerful and destructive North Atlantic low-pressure system brought eastern Canada an unusually warm holiday period, climbing to a spring-like 16°C in Montreal on Christmas Eve.
This was followed by heavy snow from Ontario to the Maritimes.
In the United States, tornadoes and floods left almost 50 dead.
The mighty Mississippi River has already exceeded overflow levels by four metres in some areas.
Scientists say the common cause of these events is a strong El Nino, a weather phenomenon which emerges every few years on average.
Record rainfall has brought unprecedented flooding to England and Scotland and Britain’s mean December temperature was a record-breaking 8°C, smashing the previous high of 6.9°C set in 1934.
With El Nino showing little sign of running out of steam, many scientists say 2016 could be even warmer than 2015.
A kangaroo in a snowy vineyard, Orange, New South Wales, Australia, 16 July 2015 (Bill Shrapnel)
Although it is officially winter in Australia, it seldom snows in lower elevations but it did this week.
Antarctic air pushed northward across New South Wales and Queensland bringing the first significant snow to the region – up to 10 cm – since the mid-1980s and some ski resorts in the mountains received 30 cm.
A vineyard owner in Orange, NSW, noted the kangaroos on his property seemed to enjoy a taste a wintry weather and were even playing in it.
Temperatures dropped to as low as -7 C and daytime highs struggled to reach 5 C with 15 C being a normal high for July.
On the coast in Sydney, low temperatures have fallen to 5 C, the lowest in 44 years.
Lithgow, New South Wales, Australia, 14 Oct 2014 (Twitter)
A slow-moving storm system dumped more than 100 mm of rain on Sydney in just a matter of hours causing flash flooding along with rare spring snow in the nearby Blue Mountains.
Up to 20 cm of snow fell in many locations on higher elevations west of Sydney.
Powerful winds gusting up to 105 km/h at Sydney Airport and as high as 161 km/h along the beaches knocked out power to tens of thousands.
Superstar singer Katy Perry delivered the daily weather forecast on the Seven Network morning show “Sunrise” in Australia this week.
All I can say is… Katy, don’t quit your day job!
Cooling off at the Australian Open in Melbourne, 14 Jan 2014 (Getty Images)
An extremely hot air mass which enveloped much of southern Australia this week has finally subsided after temperatures climbed into the mid-40s Celsius.
Heat records were shattered and both players and spectators of the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne tried to cool off when the thermometer climbed above 40 C.
The normal January high in Melbourne – at the height of summer Down Under – is in the high 20s C.
The heatwave led to power blackouts to conserve energy and more than 100 bushfires in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.
Charred countryside near Sydney, NSW, 21 Oct 2013 (Twitter)
More than 60 bushfires burning in Australia’s most populous state have prompted officials to declare a state of emergency.
At least 3,000 firefighters and nearly 100 aircraft are battling the blazes in New South Wales under catastrophic conditions including high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds gusting up to 100 km/h.
Many communities have been evacuated in the Blue Mountains region, west of Sydney, where over 200 homes have been destroyed by the bushfires.
Heavy smoke has been drifting into Sydney and its suburbs since last week.
In an effort to contain the blazes and prevent them from spreading, firefighters have been lighting controlled fires.