Sydney: Australians have been asked to heed safety advice from authorities as much of the country swelters through what is already shaping up to be a record-breaking heatwave.
On Monday, Victoria's ambulance service treated 45 patients for heat-related illnesses, including four cases of children left in cars.
Earlier Sunday, temperature reached 41.6 degrees in southern port city of Adelaide, giving the city its hottest start to a new year since the maximum temperature hit 43.1 degrees on New Year's day in 1900.
Temperatures reached 43 degrees Celsius in parts of Victoria Monday when temperatures peaked between 4.00 p.m. and 5.00 pm.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has urged people living near the bush area to obey fire crews as temperatures soar across Australia.
Residents need to heed fire warnings since severe fire warnings have been issued in several states, with temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius expected in Victoria and South Australia, the prime minister said.
"There are a lot of emergency workers who are on high alert today due to the extreme weather conditions in parts of Australia and the extreme heat," Gillard told reporters in Canberra.
First Published: Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 10:11