Sydney - Australians on the coastal fringe were on Wednesday
warned to prepare for a taste of the record-breaking heat that cooked the
central deserts at the close of 2013.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Alasdair Hainsworth said
the first heatwave of the southern hemisphere summer could see some towns roast
at 40 degrees Celsius and above.
In Alice Springs, where the maximum daily temperature has
not fallen below 43 degrees since Monday, residents are being primed for the
temperature to climb above the 1960 record of 45.2 degrees.
Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, is expecting its
hottest day in six years on Saturday with a scorching 39 degrees.
Inland from Brisbane, in Birdsville, the temperature could
reach 48 degrees on Thursday, melting tyres and keeping the 295 locals off the
streets and in the famous Birdsville Hotel.
"They've got a pretty simple choice," a Birdsville
resident told the Daily Telegraph newspaper. "Inside the pub is 23 degrees
and outside is 53."