Australia’s hottest daily average temperature up by full degree

A jogger runs in a Sydney park as temperatures rise during a heatwave. (AP pic)

SYDNEY: Australia set a record for its hottest day ever for a second straight day, with an average national maximum temperature of 41.9°C, a full degree higher than the previous mark, officials said Thursday.

The Bureau of Meteorology said 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.

As the heatwave continued, Thursday saw the highest December temperature ever reached in Australia when the West Australian town of Eucla hit 49.8°C.

The previous hottest December day was 49.5°C in Birdsville, Queensland, in 1972.

The heatwave has exacerbated an unprecedented, drought-fueled series of bushfires ravaging large areas of Australia.