A brutal heat wave in Australia skyrocketed temperatures in Sydney on Sunday to 117 degrees Fahrenheit (47.3 Celsius), making it the hottest weather New South Wales’ capital has seen in 78 years, weather officials said.
The bizarre forecast follows record low temperatures in other parts of the world.
The worst of the weekend’s heat was recorded in the Sydney suburb of Penrith where the triple-degree temperature was just slightly lower than a 118-degree (47.8 C) reading recorded in the town of Richmond in 1939, according to the New South Wales’ Bureau of Meteorology.
Temperatures became so hot across southern Australia that police in the neighboring state of Victoria warned drivers on Twitter that a 6-mile freeway was “melting.”
Fire warnings and bans were also issued across Sydney in response to the high heat threat that has caused multiple wildfires. There was also an air quality warning issued by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage for higher than normal ozone levels, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.
Adding to some of the misery felt, a power outage left thousands of people in Sydney without electricity on Sunday evening as temperatures stayed between 91 and 113 degrees Fahrenheit, the local news site reported.
A spokeswoman for local electricity provider Ausgrid, speaking to Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, partially blamed the outage on a surge in power use.
The bizarre weather isn’t just in Australia, however.
Across the Pacific, Alaska has experienced unusually warm temperatures in recent days, roughly 10 to 20 degrees above average, prompting concerns about ice levels, NPR reported.
Last week, temperatures in Anchorage were warmer than in northern Florida, which saw snow.
The U.S.′ northeast has also endured unseasonably cold temperatures, with the mercury dipping below zero in many places. At New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, the area saw an all-time low on Saturday of 8 degrees F, meteorologist Bob Oravec of the Weather Prediction Center, told Reuters.
Temperatures are expected to rise to above normal temperatures for much of the United States in the middle of January, the National Weather Service said on Sunday.
Meanwhile, World Meteorological Organization spokesperson Clare Nullis pointed out on Friday that Europe is also experiencing unusual temperatures.
“The French national average on Wednesday was 11.5 degrees Celsius [52.7 degrees Fahrenheit], so that’s about 6 degrees Celsius above the normal, so as I said, lots of extreme weather,” she said during a United Nations session, according to Newsweek.
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