Temperatures reach 79-year high as Sydney residents flock to the beaches

The sun rises over Bondi Beach in Sydney ahead of a scorcher today

The New South Wales Bureau of Meteorology wrongly announced Sunday had been metropolitan Sydney's hottest day on record before rectifying its mistake.

The agency had predicted that temperatures would soar, tweeting: "Are we forecasting all time record high temperatures today?"

The temperature in Sydney hit an nearly 80-year high of 47.3 degrees Celsius (117 Fahrenheit) on Sunday - a sharp contrast to the bitter cold that has gripped much of the U.S.

Sunday's temperatures fell short of the scorching heat to hit the area in 1939, when the mercury reached 47.8C. "No, but it would not surprise if some stations go close".

Severe fire warnings were issued for the greater Sydney area and total fire bans were put in place across the city.

Monday's forecasted winds and rainfall won't penetrate too far west, with Penrith and Richmond still expected to reach up to 40C while parts of the Hunter Region brace for temperatures up to 43C, he said.

"We've seen over the past month, fires that we've had haven't necessarily been burning on days of severe or above-fire-danger rating. the fuel is dry out there, the fuel's dry all around NSW".

It also took its toll on England in the fourth day of the Fifth Ashes test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with the tourists struggling to stay in the contest in the extreme heat.

The hashtag refers to an old sun safety campaign - "Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat".

Tennis players fine-tuning their skills at the Sydney International ahead of the Australian Open also had to battle through the heat on the first day of the tournament.


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