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Weather experts have confirmed the summer just gone in Australia was the country’s hottest on record, Sky News reported on Friday.
Average temperatures Down Under came in at a sweltering 28.6°C, 1.1°C above normal. That exceeds the previous record set in the summer of 1997-98 by more than 0.1°C. A new average daytime maximum temperature record was also set at 35.7°C, or 1.4°C above normal, and 0.2°C above the 1982-83 record.
It was a perfect summer for ice cream sellers and air-conditioning companies as Australians tried to avoid the baking heat. Shopping malls, cinemas and swimming pools were packed for much of the summer as city dwellers tried to escape the conditions.
Some beaches reported having to bring in extra volunteer lifeguards to help cope with the numbers trying to cool off in the sea.
The highest temperature recorded during the heatwave was at Moomba in South Australia at a scorching 49.6°C. The figures released by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology show record temperatures were also set in two capital cities; Sydney with 45.8°C and Hobart with 41.8°C.
Most of Australia saw a dry summer - despite heavy rainfall on the east coast, compounded by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.
The intense heat brought with it numerous bush fires, the worst occurring in Tasmania where around 200 homes were destroyed.