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Australia sees hottest day on record as sizzling heatwave moves in

Click to play video 'Australia experiences hottest day on record' Australia experiences hottest day on record
Australia experiences hottest day on record – Dec 18, 2019

Australia experienced its hottest day on record and temperatures are expected to soar even higher as heatwave conditions embrace most of the country.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the average temperature across the country of 40.9 degrees Celsius Tuesday beat the record of 40.3 Celsius from Jan. 7, 2013.

READ MORE: Australia sees spike in respiratory illnesses as massive fires continues to burn

“This hot air mass is so extensive, the preliminary figures show that yesterday was the hottest day on record in Australia, beating out the previous record from 2013 and this heat will only intensify,” bureau meteorologist Diana Eadie said in a video statement on Wednesday.

The weather bureau said temperatures in southern and central Australia on Thursday may reach between 8 and 16 degrees higher than normal.

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Click to play video 'Woman gives water to thirsty Koala as Australia endures record heatwave' Woman gives water to thirsty Koala as Australia endures record heatwave
Woman gives water to thirsty Koala as Australia endures record heatwave – Dec 19, 2019

On Wednesday temperatures soared to 47.7 Celsius in Birdsville, Queensland, 46.9 Celsius in Mandora, Western Australia and similar levels in southern and central Australia.

The highest temperature reliably recorded in any location in Australia was 50.7 Celsius in January 1960, at Oodnadatta, a desert settlement in outback South Australia.

High temperatures and strong winds are also fanning bushfires around Australia, including more than 100 in New South Wales state where heat and smoke have caused an increase in hospital admissions.

Cooler conditions are forecast from Friday.