SOUTH Australia, Victoria and NSW residents are fighting to keep cool as hot weather takes over the states.
Several locations across all three states had recorded a temperature of 40 degrees or above by noon.
Port Augusta in South Australia has the unenviable title of being the hottest town so far on Saturday, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The town reached a whopping 44.8 degrees at 12.54pm.
Earlier, residents of the eastern states were told to cancel outdoor plans and be prepared as the temperature looked to soar past 40 degrees at the weekend.
In South Australia, fire danger ratings include a catastrophic warning for Mount Lofty Ranges, Upper South East and Lower South East regions.
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Sydney and Melbourne are both set to swelter through a 40-plus weekend, while regionally the forecast is just as hot, with some parts of western NSW and northern Victoria expecting a high of 45 on Saturday.
NSW Police have urged the public to take care of themselves and their pets as the mercury rises. Victorians have been encouraged to cancel outdoor plans and “respect the heat”.
The Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Country Fire Authority (CFA) have both warned that with the high temperatures come an increased fire risk.
Victoria’s Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the highest risk area for fire would be the area from Melbourne to Echuca.
In Victoria, a cool change later in the day is expected to bring squally south-westerly winds that could also pose a risk.
Fire dangers for Saturday 6 January will see a wide area of very high fire danger. No total fire bans for #NSW however still important to be vigilant and prepared. #nswfires#NSWRFSpic.twitter.com/DqhrjkeK9A— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) January 5, 2018
"This wind change presents its own danger should there be fire as winds will come through and fan [it] in an unpredictable way," a CFA spokesman said.
Friday’s scorcher saw parts of the Hume Highway melt away in northern Victoria.
A 10-kilometre stretch of the freeway near Broadford struggled to cope with the 31-degree day, bringing traffic to a crawl as the roadway began to fall apart.