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Asia Minute: Australia swelters after a chilly start to summer

Australia Climate heat weather
Andy Brownbill/AP
In this Jan. 14, 2019, file photo, spectators cool themselves down with a water mist fan during play on day one at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill, File)

Much of Australia is sweltering this week. Extreme heat has moved across much of the country — especially in the south.

It’s summertime down under — and the start of the season was unusually cold and wet in many places.

Now, itʻs a case of weather whiplash — as locations that had been experiencing temperatures much lower than usual are now facing extremes in the other direction.

Forecasters said a heat wave is moving from the southern part of the state of West Australia to South Australia and Victoria, as well as the south and western parts of New South Wales.

Peak temperatures are likely to hit Tuesday with readings expected to top 40 degrees celsius in many areas — that's 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Further inland, peak temperatures are expected to top 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

The country's Bureau of Meteorology said there will be several parts of the country where temperatures early this week will be as much as 27 degrees Fahrenheit above their normal ranges.

That puts a focus on the potential for grass fires — which could be spread by hot winds.

One comforting piece of news for residents — this weather pattern is not expected to linger.

National weather officials say patterns should be closer to their normal trends by New Yearʻs eve.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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