Sydney, Dec 1 (IANS) Australia welcomed the first day of its summer on Thursday with a surge in the maximum temperatures that are expected to soar past 40 degrees Celsius, reports said.
As sun tilted towards the southern hemisphere heatwave was projected for Queensland and New South Wales states, Xinhua news reported.
Temperatures are expected to soar past 40 degrees Celsius over the next three to five days, nine degrees above the December average.
This has forced authorities to activate a safety plan usually reserved for floods and cyclones due to the high risk of heatstroke.
Australia’s weather bureau said heatwaves have taken more lives in the 200 years than any other natural hazard downunder.
“For every 100,000 people exposed to a category five heatwave, you would get at least three fatalities,” Risk Frontiers’ lead catastrophe loss modeller Thomas Loridan said.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology have rated the heatwave hitting southeast Queensland and northern New South Wales as “severe to extreme”.