The shrimp is on the barbie in Sydney, and the barbie doesn't need charcoal. Massive expanses of Eastern Australia set new heat records - many of which have eclipsed the prior high temperatures records set only one year ago in 2013. Twelve separate Australian locations recorded temperatures that topped 45.8 degrees C (118 degrees F).
What sets this heat event apart from similar recent hotspell occurrences in the region is the expansiveness of the affected area. Between January 1st and 4th (2014), 8.8 percent of Australia experienced record-breaking temperatures.
If you know a smartass wingnut who is snidely demanding to be shown where all the Global Warming is, you can point to Sydney, where it's been so hot that walking around without your shoes might well produce blisters.
I can remember all kinds of weather extremes over the years, but headline-producing weather phenomena recently seems to have become a mundane occurrence. Just a reminder - the biggest storm on record occurred only a few months ago in November (Typhoon Haiyan). Concern-demanding weather events have begun literally stacking themselves on top of each other in the exact same timeframe in different parts of the world. I'm sure I've never experienced anything like it before.