Via The Sydney Morning Herald: First 'big heat event' melts Australian temperature records. Excerpt:
Australia's first major heatwave of the warming season has broken temperature records across the nation, more than a month before the official start to summer.
On Saturday, the country set its warmest October day in records going back to 1910, with average maximums across the nation reaching 36.39 degrees, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The previous record for October was set on the 31st of the month in 1988, at 36.31 degrees.
Sunday's heat was almost as fierce as Saturday's, according to preliminary figures.
The heatwave set October daily maximum temperature records at more than 20 stations but the duration of the warmth was also exceptional, a bureau spokesman said.
"These are all occurring generally about a week early and the extent is longer than observed before," the spokesman said.
NSW has experienced some of the most unusual heat, with 10 per cent of the state already reporting the most number of October days above 35 degrees.
Broken Hill had previously posted only three days in a row of 35 degrees or warmer weather in October: in 1990. Five such consecutive days occurred during the past week's event, the bureau said.
The north-western NSW town of Wanaaring, with reliable records going back to 1884, posted eight days of 35-degree heat, eclipsing a tally of seven set in 1997.
Climate experts say Australia's summer is starting earlier and lasting longer, with the peak of heatwaves also becoming more intense.