Extreme heat spread across much of New South Wales this week in Australia. Photo by EPA/DAN HIMBRECHTS AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND OUT
Jan. 18 (UPI) -- Australia has a new record for hottest nighttime temperature.
During the early morning hours of Jan. 18, as Thursday became Friday in Australia, a weather station near Dubbo, a city in New South Wales, recorded an overnight low of 35.9 degrees Celsius, 96.6 degrees Fahrenheit -- a new record.
Australia is in the midst of an intense heat wave. Daytime temperatures in New South Wales this week crested 46 degrees Celsius, more than 114 degrees Fahrenheit.
The extended stretch of extreme inland temperatures marks one of the most intense heat waves in region's history.
"We have now seen five days in a row with temperatures widely well into the 40s, and probably the only event that's comparable on a statewide level was the January 1939 heatwave," Blair Trewin, senior climatologist at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. "While the 1939 heatwave was a bit longer in New South Wales, this one has been much more extensive nationally so it's certainly one of the most significant heatwaves we have seen."
Meteorologists are forecasting some relief for southern Australia over the weekend, though slightly less intense heatwave conditions are likely to persist through next week.
The most extreme heat is concentrated in New South Wales, but Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory are also experiencing elevated temperatures.
According to the BBC, the high temperatures have triggered wildlife deaths, wildfires and an uptick in hospital admissions.
Last week, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a report detailing climate trends Down Under in 2018. Last year was one of Australia's hottest and driest on record.
"The drought conditions were exacerbated by record or near-record temperatures across many parts of the country," researchers wrote. "It was Australia's third-warmest year on record, behind 2013 and 2005."