Australia set a record for its hottest day ever for a second straight day, with an average national maximum temperature of 41.9 degrees Celsius (107.4 Fahrenheit), a full degree higher than the previous mark, officials said Thursday.
The Bureau of Meteorology also said the country reported its hottest December day in 45 years on Thursday when the mercury hit 49.9 degrees Celsius (121.8 Fahrenheit) in Nullarbor on the South Australia coast.
The new nationally averaged maximum was reached Wednesday, topping the 40.9 C hit Tuesday, which beat the previous record of 40.3 C in January 2013, the bureau said.
High temperature records continued to fall across much of the south of the country Thursday in a heatwave that has exacerbated an unprecedented, drought-fuelled series of bushfires ravaging large areas of Australia.
The Nullarbor reading topped the previous record December temperature of 49.5 degrees reached in 1972 in the outback Queensland town of Birdsville.